Quincy Jones was a most effective and congenial
Master of Ceremonies for “Quincy Jones: 50 Years
in Music – Live at Montreux 1996,” yet another
installment of the “Live at Montreux” series, released
under the Eagle Eye label. This concert was held at
the packed Stravinsky Auditorium in July 1996, during
which Jones reminisced and conducted an awesome
Big Band orchestra, performing music of his career
which has extended from the 1950’s to the present.
The tunes performed here were primarily from the
1950’s to the 1980’s.
Joining “Q,” as he is affectionately known, were
some big names in the music industry including
singers Patti Austin, Chaka Khan, and Mick Hucknall,
singer/drummer Phil Collins, harmonica player
Toots Thielemans, and saxophonist David Sanborn,
among others. At a running time of approximately
two hours, this disc featured a generous sample of
the diverse styles of music in which Jones has both
arranged and composed, beginning with a
composition he wrote for vibraphonist Lionel Hampton
during the 1950’s, through the title theme of the
award-winning movie, “In the Heat of the Night,”
and the late 1960’s eponymous album,
“Walking in Space.” Music was also performed from
his score from the movie, “The Color Purple,” wherein
he added the duties of Executive Producer to his long
resume of accomplishments. Jones introduced these
tunes while also providing appropriate anecdotes,
and appeared to really enjoy himself.
The standard of playing from Jones’ Big Band
orchestra, as well as the solo work from its
members and the other celebrity participants
was first rate, and this concert was also well
recorded. It was interesting to see Phil Collins
sing while backed up by a Big Band orchestra,
and performing music not normally associated
A bonus feature was probably taped approximately
10 years after this concert, wherein Jones weighed
in on various musical topics, particularly lamenting
the sad state of music education in the United States.
This 12-minute feature was given at a lecture hall,
before a live audience. Seated next to Jones was
Montreux Festival founder, Claude Nobbs. Jones
shared his overall philosophy regarding various
branches and types of music, along with the
importance of becoming familiar with different genres.
All I can say is, “Amen!” Clearly, he’s a man who
has embraced music in the broadest sense of
the term. He has been encouraged to do so since
his youth, by mentors ranging from his Jazz
musician colleagues to the great pedagogue,
Nadia Boulanger, with whom he studied in
Paris during the 1950’s.
“Q” has definitely earned my respect, and I highly
recommend this DVD!