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By Quincy Jones with Bill Gibson
Quincy Jones needs no introduction, but it’s worth pointing out that he was almost pigeonholed out of the chance to produce Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album, which, of course, preceded Thriller and Bad in what would become the most successful trio of albums of all time by any measure. Jones was respected for his touch with jazz, TV, and film in 1978, but hadn’t yet achieved big success in mainstream pop-music production. This book dissects the approaches he used to turn that corner, which are essentially the same principles that guided him alongside greats like Ray Charles, Count Basie, and Frank Sinatra, and continue to guide him today.
The 302-page book offers plenty of practical Q wisdom through his own words, those of co-writer Bill Gibson and those of a long list of notable collaborators like Phil Ramone and Paul Jackson, Jr. Topics covered include: chord and instrument voicings, the pocket, the music business, the rewards of loyalty, and the art of respecting genres. There are no deep-dive tips, unfortunately, but the summation of so much general Q advice amounts to a valuable collection of musical knowledge.
The hardbound book also comes with a DVD containing more than an hour of Gibson interviewing Jones. Dedication and musical genius aren’t transferable through a book and a DVD, but this first volume in what is to be a series on producing from Hal Leonard does good job of examining what Jones brings to the table.