Quincy Jones is one of the most prolific soundtrack composers. Not only did he write over 30 major motion picture soundtracks, but he also composed favorite TV theme songs such as Ironside, Sanford and Son, and the Bill Cosby Show. Quincy Jones was born in Chicago in 1933 and moved to Seattle at the age of 15 where he grew up. He studied music at the Seattle University and then the Berklee School of Music in Boston. His first long-term gig was three years with the Lionel Hampton band. Originally, Quincy was primarily a trumpet player as well as a writer, composer and arranger. In 1974, at the height of his career and many hit albums behind him he experienced a cerebral stroke. After two open brain surgeries, Quincy miraculously survived (apparently there was a 90% failure rate on each surgery), but he was forced to put down his trumpet and never play again. He was left with writing, composing and producing.
Quincy Jones has one of the most impressive resumes in the music industry. He has produced or performed with the greatest artists in many genres from Miles Davis to Michael Jackson to Ice-T. He produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which has sold over 30,000,000 copies (as of 1986) and We Are the World which raised $200,000,000 for the stricken peoples of the Horn of Africa.
My favorite Quincy Jones records, however, are his soundtracks. They have such a wide variety of textures, styles and sounds. His first major film success was with the movie In Cold Blood which was nominated for an Oscar. He also won an Oscar in 1971 as musical conductor and arranger, and he received two Emmy’s and six Grammy’s as a solo artist. My favorite QJ soundtracks include The Slender Thread, The Lost Man, The Call Me Mr.Tibbs, $$ and The Hot Rock, all of which have been sampled by the likes of Pharoahe Monch, Gang Starr, Cut Chemist, and many others mainly due to their rich sonic textures.