Part II of our series of blogs covering Recording Studio legend Quincy Jones. Quincy Jones is one of the most talented producers ever to grace the recording studio.
Recording Studio: Quincy Jones music career
At the age of 19, Jones travelled to Europe and and reshaped view of racism in the US.
“It gave me some sense of perspective of past, present and future. It took the myopic conflict between just black and white in the United States and put it on another level because you saw the turmoil between the Armenians and the Turks, and the Cypriots and the Greeks, and the Swedes and the Danes, and the Koreans and the Japanese. Everybody had these hassles, and you saw it was a basic part of human nature, these conflicts. It opened my soul, it opened my mind.”
In 1956, Jones toured again as a trumpeter and musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie Band on a tour of the Middle East and South America sponsored by the United States Information Agency. When he returned, Jones signed a deal with Paramount Records and starting his recording career as the leader of his own band. In 1957, Quincy moved to Paris, where he studied composition and theory with Nadia Boulanger and composer Olivier Messiaen. He also performed at the Paris Olympia. Jones became the musical director at Barclay Disques, a leading French record company and the licensee for Mercury Records in France. He spent alot of time in the recording studio there,
During the 1950s, Jones successfully toured throughout Europe with many different jazz orchestras. A European tour closed in Paris in February 1960. After that Jones formed his own big band, called The Jones Boys, with eighteen artists. The band included double bass player Eddie Jones and fellow trumpeter Reunald Jones, and organized a tour of North America and Europe. Though the European and American concerts met enthusiastic audiences and sparkling reviews, concert earnings could not support a band of this size. Poor budget planning resulted in an economic disaster; the band dissolved and the fallout left Jones in a financial crisis. Quoted in Musician magazine, Jones said about the ordeal,
“We had the best jazz band in the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That’s when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two.”
Irving Green, head of Mercury Records, helped Jones with a personal loan and a new job as the musical director of the company’s New York division. There he worked with Doug Moody, who founded Mystic Records. This was the real start of Jones move more toward being in the recording studio.