Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quincy’s Day

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

The editorial staff at JazzProfiles wanted to get an early start on wishing Quincy Jones a Happy Birthday – he turns 78 on March 14th – with the following video tribute to him.

That was the easy part.

The more difficult part was what to say about this highly-esteemed musician, composer, arranger, impresario and entrepreneur that hasn’t been said already.

Few Jazz musicians have ever been as universally acclaimed and admired as has been Quincy, and deservedly so.

As Brian Priestley commented:

“As he approaches the … [78th] anniversary of his birth (March 14, 1933, in Chicago), Quincy Jones can look back on a full life. Unusually for someone who is not a singer or an actor, he is a superstar. If his autobiographical book and the 1990 documentary film about him are perhaps ambigu­ous as to whether he sees himself as a superstar, there is no question that is how he is regarded by others.

Musicians are quick to recognize pretensions or falsehoods, but such attributes are never mentioned in Quincy's connection. Only admiration, and a certain amazement as to what he achieved, are the standard reactions.”

Given the many legal restrictions on the use of music from any of Quincy’s recordings, we turned to pianist Mike LeDonne and his sextet for the version of Quincy’s original composition Jessica’s Day on the video’s sound track.

The tune was first performed by Dizzy Gillespie’s Big Band during its 1956 tour of “the Near and Middle East and South America” for the US State Department.

Dizzy in South America was the topic of an earlier feature on JazzProfiles which you can locate by going here and here.

Quincy wrote Jessica’s Day for Jazz writer Nat Hentoff’s daughter and it was later recorded by Count Basie’s Band in 1959 and by Cannonball Adderley’s group in 1962.

Joining pianist Mike LeDonne are Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Jon Gordon on alto saxophone, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash.

Happy Birthday, Qunicy, and thanks for all you’ve done for Jazz, both at home and abroad.