As a composer, producer, arranger, impresario, musician, performer and philanthropist, Quincy Jones has risen to the top of American music in the past seven decades.
Born in Chicago, the Jones family moved to Seattle, Washington when Quincy was 10. The city, and the diversity of young musicians Jones would meet as a teenager there - Ray Charles, Buddy Catlett, Ernestine Anderson, had a lasting impact on his musical career.
Quincy Jones began playing the trumpet in elementary school, and at 18 won a trumpet scholarship to the Schillinger House of Music (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston. In 1951, Jones left Boston to join bandleader Lionel Hampton on tour, and by 1956 had become the musical director and trumpeter for the Dizzy Gillespie Band.
Since then Jones has built a dynamic, varied music career whose highlights include arranging for Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Dinah Washington, composing 33 major motion picture scores, producing Michael Jackson's groundbreaking Thriller album, and producing the popular NBC show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Jones' numerous collaborations include work with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Miles Davis.
The recipient of 27 Grammy Awards, Quincy Jones has been nominated a record 79 times. Since the 1960s, Quincy Jones has been both activist and humanitarian. He founded the Institute for Black American Music, the Black Arts Festival in Chicago, and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, an international charity that serves young people through education and the arts.
The latest book about Jones, The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey and Passions, will be published in October 2008- City Arts & Lectures
Ben Fong-Torres is an acclaimed music journalist of 45 years, a former Rolling Stone editor and the author of eight books, including The Grateful Dead Scrapbook, Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock & Roll, Willin': The Story of Little Feat, and The Hits Just Keep on Coming: The History of Top 40 Radio. He is also the San Francisco Chronicle radio columnist, and was portrayed in the film Almost Famous.
Brian Gruber is Founder and Executive Chairman of FORA.tv.
Gruber has twenty years experience successfully building and marketing media enterprises. As the senior marketing officer for a range of respected media institutions, he has managed billion dollar revenue budgets and large and small marketing teams.
As the first marketing director for C-SPAN, he built its affiliate sales and marketing organization, launching C-SPAN II with the largest subscriber base ever for a cable network at launch. As director of marketing for News Corp's FOXTEL, he helped build the cable television brand in Australia, going from number three to number one in cable subscriptions, brand equity and consumer awareness.
As the head of marketing of the largest urban divisions of 3 top ten cable companies (MSO's), he turned flat or negative subscriber growth into substantial gains. And as president of g/media and Principals.com, he has helped more than twenty new media companies develop brands, marketing strategies, and consumer products.
He also acted as the media adviser and new media producer for the World Affairs Council of Northern California, the nation's most prolific presenter of quality world affairs events.
An impresario in the broadest and most creative sense of the word, Quincy Jones’ career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record
company executive, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. As a master inventor of
musical hybrids, he has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African and Brazilian music into many dazzling
fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performance, movies and television.
Celebrating more than 60 years performing and being involved in music, Quincy’s creative magic has spanned
over six decades, beginning with the music of the postswing era and continuing through today’s high-technology, international multi-media hybrids. In the mid-50’s, he was the first popular conductor-arranger to record with a Fender bass. His theme from the hit TV series Ironside was the first synthesizer-based pop theme song. As the first black composer to be embraced by the Hollywood establishment in the 60’s, he helped refresh movie music with badly needed infusions of
jazz and soul. His landmark 1989 album, Back On The Block—named “Album Of The Year” at the 1990 Grammy Awards— brought such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Miles Davis together with Ice T, Big Daddy Kane
and Melle Mel to create the first fusion of the be bop and hip hop musical traditions; while his 1993 recording of the critically acclaimed Miles and Quincy Live At Montreux, featured
Quincy conducting Miles Davis’ live performance of the historic Gil Evans arrangements from the Miles Ahead, Porgy
and Bess and Sketches of Spain sessions, garnered a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance. As producer
and conductor of the historic “We Are The World” recording (the best-selling single of all time) and Michael Jackson’s
multi-platinum solo albums, Off The Wall, Bad and Thriller (the best selling album of all time, with over 50 million copies sold), Quincy Jones stands as one of the most successful and admired creative artist/executives in the entertainment world.