Quincy Jones--the legendary musician, producer and humanitarian--is the subject of the new documentary ‘Quincy,’ now streaming on Netflix.
The film cuts between Jones’ past to his recent life--which has included recovering from a nearly fatal stroke in 2015 and then producing a moving, star-studded show for the opening of the Smithsonian’s African American Museum. Jones grew up extremely poor, first in Chicago and then in Seattle, with a mother who was in and out of his life battling mental illness. As a teenager, his talent as a trumpet player presented an opportunity when he was invited to join Lionel Hampton’s band.
He tells us the chance to go to Europe with the band, as an 18-year-old, was the best thing that ever happened to him, and instilled a love of food, culture and languages.
‘Quincy’ the documentary is co-directed by Rashida Jones, Quincy’s daughter, as well as Australian filmmaker and musician Alan Hicks.
Quincy Jones and Hicks have collaborated before--in 2014, Hicks made the documentary ‘Keep on Keepin’ on’--about jazz legend Clark Terry’s incredible mentorship of a young, blind piano prodigy. Hicks was struggling to find the time and money to finish the film when Jones entered the picture as a producer.
Unlike ‘Keep on Keepin’ on,’ ‘Quincy’ is a film that had big backing from the very beginning. That support came in the form of Netflix--the company was patient as Hicks spent a year going through thousands of hours of archival footage.
At more than 2 hours long, ‘Quincy’ still has to fly through Jones’ many career landmarks--working with Frank Sinatra in the early 1960’s, for instance, arranging the score for the first song ever played on the moon, and collaborating with Michael Jackson on the iconic and record shattering 1982 album, Thriller.
Along the way Jones became a prolific film composer--scoring and arranging music for more than 30 movies. His experience scoring films led him to other aspects of the business--Jones was a producer on Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Color Purple’ and Will Smith’s sitcom, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’
As for what’s next for Jones, well, as he points out, with this Netflix doc, he’s already in the streaming game.