Quincy Jones is known by most as the genius that produced Michael Jackson. Behind some of Michael Jackson’s best-known hits such as ‘Thriller’, Quincy Jones is considered as one of the best producers of all time and is respected by various musicians, old and new.
With a career that spans almost seven decades, Jones is one of the most multi-faceted producers in the industry. Known as an instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, and producer Jones emerged in the 1950s as a jazz musician.
Beginning his career in Chicago, Jones came up under the jazz bandleader Lionel Hampton, who he accompanied on tour. In the late ’50s, Jones was a session player at CBS, where he was able to play for various high-profile acts, even getting to be part of a support band for Elvis Presley.
Throughout the ’50s, Jones toured with various jazz orchestras in Europe, honing his craft until he became so good as an instrumentalist that he was asked to be the musical director of the play Free And Easy.
Seeing his talent as a director, composer and instrumentalist, Jones was scouted to become an arranger for the likes of, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horn, Peggy Lee, Nana Mouskouri and Frank Sinatra. From here, Jones filled roles as an in-house producer for various major record labels.
He did this throughout the 1970s, and in 1982 he produced Jackson’s Thriller, the bestselling album in the history of music. However, Quincy Jones is mainly known as a jazz, soul and pop producer, not hip hop, but nonetheless, Jones has a deep love for the genre.
In an interview with Revolt magazine, Jones let it be known why. Speaking on how both jazz and funk have had an impact on hip hop and how he loves the genre when asked, “How do you think the newer generation will receive jazz and classical music?” The producer replied, “Young people are seekers, man! They always have been. When we’re young, we all want to break the mould and find our truth, and that is a central tenet of both jazz and classical music! Besides, it all comes from the same stuff. I fell in love with hip hop in the late 1970s because it reminded me so much of bebop, and classical strings are what elevated some of the world’s best funk music!”
Quincy Jones is a legend and an appreciator of music, so for such a legend to see greatness in hip hop, there must be something there. Listen to one of Quincy Jones’s most renowned productions in the video below.