What about this criticism of Quincy Jones: “Well, of course he could produce great music, he had the luxury of the best singers, players and songwriters on the planet so all he had to do was to show up, say ‘hi,’ stand back and let it happen.”
I think that many people don’t realize that when he was doing Thriller, Off the Wall, Back on the Block—all these incredible projects—he was using the same studios and the same musical team to support these projects that everyone else was using for their projects, so it wasn’t only about the phenomenal talent of his musicians and engineers. It was about his gifts in nurturing the team and bringing the best out in those around him. The A team brought their A game for Quincy time and time again—he is the master at bringing the best out in people.
He did his own “10,000 hours” – didn’t he?
Yes, Quincy laid down his own solid musical foundation. From his mid teens, he was mentored by Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Clark Terry and and many of the best musicians ever. He also took his own band on a tour throughout Europe and ended up studying classical composition with the premiere composition teacher and conductor in the world at that time: Nadia Boulanger. He studied a few times a week with her for five years! She was also teaching Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copeland among many other serious composers.
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