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Quincy Jones

Jones, Quincy (Quincy Delight Jones, Jr.), 1933–, African-American musician, composer, bandleader, and music executive, b. Chicago. Jones played trumpet and sang gospel growing up, and studied briefly at Boston's Berklee College of Music (then called Schillinger House). After 1951 he played with Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie and was also an arranger for such jazz greats as Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, and his childhood friend Ray Charles. Jones traveled to Paris in 1957, where he studied composition with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen, became music director for Mercury Records' French division, and briefly (1960–61) led a big band.

Returning to New York in the early 1960s, Jones became a vice president at Mercury, breaking the executive color barrier there. He also began to compose for films and television, including scores for The Pawnbroker (1965), In Cold Blood (1967), and The Wiz (1978). He coproduced the film The Color Purple (1985) and was responsible for several TV sitcoms. From 1979 to 1987 he produced Michael Jackson's chartbuster albums, catapulting the singer to superstardom. Jones also founded (1980) a record company, established (1990) Vibe magazine, and formed (1991) Qwest Broacasting.

See his autobiography (2001).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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