Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

Quincy Jones: Savior of Music

In a recent article for the China Daily newspaper, Quincy Jones claimed he would ride with bravado against the 21st century’s dark knight, a phantom menace called copyright infringement, and rescue his beautiful maiden in distress, the haggard and threadbare music industry. From the article:

“We are going to reinvent the record business, in China, because it’s dead,” the 76-year-old producer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, told China Daily yesterday evening at his Shanghai hotel room. “Not might. We are going to.”

Quincy has never been one to miss his mark.

His feats include producing the biggest-selling record of all time (Thriller), discovering Oprah Winfrey (as producer, he cast her in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple), being nominated for the most Grammy Awards (79), and arranging the first song ever played on the moon (Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon, played by astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 1969) on a tape recorder.

In the battle against his illusive foe, Quincy has chosen an unexpected excalibur: the cell phone. “That’s the answer (to piracy),” he boasted. Until the sword has been drawn, he’ll continue his work as a composer, student and friend of the Orient. “Yi bu, Yi bu,” he says, “step by step.

When Paul West, our chief engineer, was going through some tapes that contained recordings of Tom Merriman’s old scores, he got to several tracks that just jumped out of the speakers. Not that Merriman’s music is just par for the course, but these tracks flowed seemlessly, with a different flair than what Paul had been hearing in Merriman’s tunes.

The next time he ran in to Tom, Paul asked him about it. “Who did those other tracks on your old tapes? They were phenomenal.”

“Oh yea,” Tom said, “That was Quincy.”

“Quincy Jones?!”

“Yea. We used to work together.”

<Enter shock and awe from stage left>

I’ve long admired Quincy – and his uncanny film scoring, songwriting, jazz and producer accolades.  I must admit, I would have given my left foot to sit in on the sessions with Quincy and Tom. But I would prefer a stipulation that allowed me to get my foot back after the session.

Luckily, we’re gonna be hitting the studios hard this week anyway, and I won’t have to give my left foot to be there. SAM will soon have some updates and cool demos from all our current projects.

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