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Quincy Jones Quotes
Quincy Jones Quotes
Just blow in it and sound bad for about a year and then make it sound a little bit better, and you get a little band together, and then you get a few jobs. You take four guys that sound half bad, but if they're 25 percent each, they can give 100 percent, you know?
My brother died of cancer two years ago (1998), renal cell carcinoma. He was my only real brother and I didn't know what to do. I'd never been so desperate in my life.
My father was a carpenter, a very good carpenter. He also worked for the Jones boys. They were not family members, we weren't related at all. They started the policy racket in Chicago, and they had the five and dime store.
My father worked for Julian Black, the people that ran Joe Louis's life. Joe Louis lived in one of the buildings we lived in.
Some summers my father would take us down to visit our grandmother in Louisville, who was an ex-slave, Susan Jones, and she had a shotgun shack they call it, and no electricity, a well in the back, a coal stove, kerosene lamps.
The band was working 70 one-nighters in a row all through the south, doing 700 miles a night, with these guys that had been out there 30 years. I used to watch the old guys. I really respected their wisdom.
We got into all the trouble you could ever imagine. We figured that if the Jones boys and all the gangsters ran Chicago, we had our own territory now. All the stores, all the crime, we were in charge of everything, my stepbrother and my brother.
We spent most of our life almost like street rats just running around the street until we were ten years old.
We stole a box of honey jars one time and went out in the woods and took care of the whole box. I don't think I touched honey again for 20 years. I never wanted to see honey again.
We were in the heart of the ghetto in Chicago during the Depression, and every block - it was probably the biggest black ghetto in America - every block also is the spawning ground practically for every gangster, black and white, in America too.
When I was about five or seven years old my mother was placed in a mental institution and so we were with our father who worked very hard, and we had to figure a lot of things out.
While I was in Boston, sure enough this lady, Janet Thurlow, who was in the Lionel Hampton band, kept reminding them of me, and they called me one day and I was so happy.
A lot of the guys were like that - Oscar Pettiford - they just took me under their wing, and that's why I automatically help young people. I just love it, because they did that for me.
Count Basie practically adopted me at 13. We became closer and closer and I ended up conducting for him and Sinatra.
Eight kids and a stepmother, and I just wanted to be out of there and so when I got a scholarship from Boston to the Schillinger House, which is now the Berklee School of Music, I couldn't wait to get out of there.
I chose the trombone because the trombone players in the marching band got to be up front with the majorettes (because of the slides) and I loved that!
I got a scholarship to Seattle University and I was writing arrangements for singers and everybody. But the music course was too dry and I really wanted to get away from home.
I got in the school band and the school choir. It all hit me like a ton of bricks, everything just came out. I played percussion for a while, and stayed after school forever just tinkering around with different things, the clarinets and the violins.
I was inspired by a lot of people when I was young. Every band that came through town, to the theater, or the dance hall. I was at every dance, every night club, listened to every band that came through, because in those days we didn't have MTV, we didn't have television.
If you started in New York you were dealing with the biggest guys in the world. You're dealing with Charlie Parker and all the big bands and everything. We got more experience working in Seattle.
Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing.
It slaps your dignity just right. I loved the idea of these proud, dignified black men, and I saw the older ones wounded, and it wounded me ten times as much because I couldn't stand seeing them hurt like this.
It was messed up, because in 1947 my family moved to Seattle and I had to get up at 5:00 o'clock in the morning to catch the ferry back to Bremerton every morning because I was Boys Club president.
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