Quincy Jones

Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones

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Although Rhino's four-disc box set, Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones, was released to coincide with Quincy Jones' autobiography, and that's what gives the set the title, the set would have an appropriate moniker even if Jones hadn't put his life story to paper. That's because this box set really does tell his story, partially because its four discs are divided so cleanly. The first is Jumpin' in the Woodshed, devoted to Quincy Jones the jazzman, featuring sessions that he led and mostly sessions where he was a sideman. The second is Gone Hollywood, meaning that it contains selections of his work for motion pictures and television, including his productions for other artists (Ray Charles' "In the Heat of the Night," Diana Ross and Michael Jackson's "Ease on Down the Road") and songs he cut that later were popularized in movies ("Soul Bossa Nova," otherwise known as the theme to Austin Powers). The third is Hit Man, which is devoted to his productions and arrangements for other artists, including Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, James Ingram, the Brothers Johnson, and Paul Simon. Finally, there's "The Dude Throws Down," consisting entirely of selections from his star-studded collaborations of the late '80s and '90s. That final volume may accurately represent the final chapter of his career, but apart from the great urban ballad "One Hundred Ways," it's pretty dull, illustrating why these meticulous studio concoctions of Jones are misconceived; but the other discs are pretty terrific, not just capturing the essence of his work in each style, but drawing connections where you might not think connections exist -- especially on Hit Man, as Lesley Gore's girl group "You Don't Own Me" rubs shoulders with the Brothers Johnson's "Stomp!," and it's possible to hear Quincy's work on both. This may not be a set that you'd put on a whole lot, even if the first three discs work expertly as collections spotlighting Jones' various strengths, but this set couldn't have told Quincy Jones' story better, and it's worthy of being called a musical biography.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:49
2 5:26
3 3:31
4 3:56
5 2:58
6 4:14
7 3:21
8 2:26
9 3:00
10 3:38
11 3:05
12
2:49
13 3:46
14 4:19
15 3:06
16 4:34
17 4:03
18 2:43
19 6:27
20 3:33
21 2:49

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:44
2 2:33
3 3:04
4 3:19
5 3:30
6 3:05
7 2:06
8 4:01
9 3:53
10 2:41
11 3:01
12 2:52
13 4:32
14 2:48
15 3:11
16 2:01
17 5:14
18 2:37
19 2:39
20 2:34
21 2:35
22 2:29
23 4:45
blue highlight denotes track pick