You could fill an entire book just covering the career of Quincy Jones. Just for starters, he has won 28 of the 80 Grammy Awards for which he was nominated.
Quincy grew up in Chicago and his family moved to the Seattle area when he was ten. While in high school, he learned to play the trumpet and began creating arrangements. He spent a few years studying music in college before signing on to tour with bandleader Lionel Hampton. While on the tour, Quincy played piano and trumpet and arranged some musical numbers.
After the tour, Quincy moved to New York City and began a career as a freelance arranger. Some of his early work included Ray Charles, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughan. He then spent the rest of the fifties touring with various jazz groups in Europe before settling back in New York. He accepted a job as Music Director at Mercury Records and the company promoted him to vice-president in 1961.
Quincy began producing records as well as arranging music. He produced several albums for Lesley Gore, resulting in four million-selling singles. He produced several albums for Frank Sinatra. He also produced Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album in 1979, which sold over 20 million copies.
In 1981 he produced his own album, The Dude. The album was nominated for twelve Grammy awards and won three of them. Vocals on the album were handled by Charles May, James Ingram, and Patti Austin.
James Ingram was born in Akron, Ohio. In addition to singing, he learned to play the piano. He moved to Los Angeles and joined the band Revelation Funk. He also played keyboards for Ray Charles.
After signing a publishing deal with 20th Century Fox publishing company, I paid James $50 to record a demo copy of Just Once, a song written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. When Quincy began recording The Dude, he hired James to sing on the album before he had recorded any solo work.
Quincy released Just Once in the Summer of 1981, credited to Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram. The single reached #17 on the Hot 100, #11 on the R&B chart, and #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Near the end of 1981, they chose to release One Hundred Ways from the album. That single did even better than the first one; it reached #14 on the Hot 100, #10 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the AC chart. James won the Grammy award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for One Hundred Ways.
James found continued success singing with other artists throughout his career:
- Baby, Come to Me with Patti Austin.
- What About Me? With Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes.
- Yah Mo B There with Michael McDonald.
- Somewhere Out There with Linda Ronstadt.
- The Day I Fall in Love with Dolly Parton
- When You Love Someone with Anita Baker
All that experience with duets no doubt led to his appearances in 2004 as a duet partner in Celebrity Duets, a U.S. television reality show.
James died as a result of brain cancer in 2019.
Quincy Jones produced Michael Jackson’s Triller album in 1982, which sold over 60 million copies, and has continued to created a long list of works.
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