Tunes Du Jour Presents Quincy Jones

Quincy Delight Jones Jr., affectionately known as “Q,” is a name that resonates across the vast landscape of music. Born on March 14, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois, Quincy Jones has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. His multifaceted career spans seven decades, and his contributions to music, film, and humanitarian causes are nothing short of legendary. Let’s delve into the life of this remarkable artist, exploring both his creative genius and his unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.

Quincy Jones’s musical journey began with the trumpet, but it soon expanded to embrace a universe of genres. From jazz to pop, from film scores to chart-topping hits, Jones’s versatility knows no bounds. He cut his teeth working with luminaries like Ray Charles and Dizzy Gillespie, honing his skills as an arranger and composer. His compositions, such as “Stockholm Sweetnin’” and “For Lena and Lennie,” showcased his innate ability to blend sophistication with soulful melodies.

However, it’s impossible to discuss Quincy Jones without mentioning his groundbreaking collaborations with Michael Jackson. As the producer of Jackson’s iconic albums—Off the Wall, Thriller, and Bad—Jones elevated pop music to new heights. The pulsating basslines of “Billie Jean,” the electrifying energy of “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” and the haunting introspection of “Man in the Mirror” all bear his unmistakable imprint. And let’s not forget the global anthem “We Are the World,” which Jones orchestrated to raise funds for famine relief in Ethiopia—a testament to his unwavering commitment to humanity.

Beyond the studio, Quincy Jones’s heart beats for social causes. In the 1970s, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Martin Luther King Jr. as a founding member of Jesse Jackson’s Operation PUSH. His belief in the transformative power of music led him to create the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation. Through this nonprofit, he connects underserved youth with technology and music education. From South Central Los Angeles to South Africa, Jones’s foundation builds bridges, providing instruments and broadening music curricula to include American jazz greats alongside European classics.

But his philanthropic endeavors extend beyond borders. In partnership with Emirati social entrepreneur Badr Jafar, Jones launched the Global Gumbo Group. Their charity single “Tomorrow/Bokra,” featuring Middle Eastern singers, raised funds for children’s charities. This No. 1 hit in the Middle East garnered over 7 million views on YouTube, proving that music can heal and uplift even in the most challenging times.

And let’s not forget Hurricane Katrina. Jones stepped in to save the homes and properties of elderly jazz musicians affected by the devastating storm. His magic touch—what some call the “Quincy dust”—transforms lives, one act of kindness at a time.

Quincy Jones, now in his 90s, remains an unstoppable force. Whether he’s conducting an orchestra, mentoring young artists, or advocating for social justice, his legacy reverberates across generations. As we listen to the soulful strains of “Soul Bossa Nova” or groove to “Razzamatazz,” let’s remember that behind every note lies a man who believes in the power of love, music, and compassion. Quincy Jones—the maestro, the philanthropist, and the eternal groove-maker—continues to inspire us all.

Q produced all of the recordings on today’s playlist except the ones performed by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Big Maybelle; on those he’s credited as the arranger.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 2-12-24

I keep forgettin’ why I walked in this room
I keep forgettin’ where it was that I parked my car
I keep forgettin’ my Wifi password
I keep forgettin’ where my phone is, oh it’s in my hand

I keep forgettin’ what day of the week it is
I keep forgettin’ if turned the oven off or not
I keep forgettin’ if I fed those damn cats
I keep forgetin’ that I don’t have any cats to feed

I keep forgettin’ to schedule a haircut
I keep forgettin’ the last place I put my keys down
I keep forgettin’ my apartment doesn’t clean itself
I keep forgettin’ something else about some other thing

I haven’t forgotten that Michael McDonald was born on this date in 1952. You can hear him on a few songs on today’s playlist.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 12-17-23

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong collaborated to write several hits for The Temptations, among them “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Psychedelic Shack,” “Ball Of Confusion,” and “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).” The latter was inspired by Strong’s crush on a woman who didn’t know he existed. It became The Temptations’ third number one single on the Hot 100. 

Lead vocalist on “Just My Imagination,” the late Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations was born on this date in 1939.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 1-3-23

James Mtume (b. January 3, 1946) is best-known for his oft-sampled “Juicy Fruit,” though he also has writing and producing credits on records by Stephanie Mills, Roberta Flack, Spinners, Levert and Phyllis Hyman and also played on records by Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Lonnie Liston Smith, Sonny Rollins and Gato Barbieri. He died just a few days after his birthday last year.

Today’s playlist includes Mtume’s best-known track plus 29 other juicy cuts.

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist: 8-8-22

Today’s playlist celebrates the August 8 birthdays of U2’s The Edge, Joe Tex, The Treacherous Three’s Kool Moe Dee, Creed’s Scott Stapp, and JC Chasez; the August 9 birthdays of Whitney Houston, Kurtis Blow, Sampa the Great, Barbara Mason, and Arlo Parks; and the August 10 birthdays of The Righteous Brothers’ Bobby Hatfield, The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Bell Biv DeVoe’s Michael Bivins, UTFO’s Kangol Kid, The Velvelettes’ Carolyn Gill, The Four Aces’ Al Alberts, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Martin, and Patti Austin.

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Throwback Thursday: 1962

A popular misconception that I sometimes fall into is that the years after The Day The Music Died (early 1959) and before The Beatles hit in America (early 1964) the pop chart was pretty dull. Sure, there was a lot of schmaltz on the Hot 100 – there always is – but there was a lot of exciting stuff, too, as today’s Throwback Thursday playlist will attest. Girl groups, Motown, Ray Charles, James Brown, Frankie Valli, Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys and lots of other good stuff made the top 40. Have a listen to thirty of 1962’s best.

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A Chaka Khan Playlist

Chaka Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens on this date in 1953. At age 13 Yvette was given the name Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi Khan by an African priest. Though there was no Chaka Khan character in the movie Judas and the Black Messiah, she did befriend Fred Hampton in 1967 and joined the Black Panthers. She left the group two years later. Below are thirty things she’s done since then.

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