Purdue Jazz honors one of the greatest -- Quincy Jones
The jazz version of the Renaissance man, Quincy Jones, has done it all. His career has encompassed the roles of composer, record producer, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, magazine founder and multi-media entrepreneur. Saluting his genius, Purdue's jazz bands present "Quincy Delight Jones: An American Musical Legend" on Friday, Nov. 16.
The free concert begins at 8 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center. Doors will open at 7:30.
"There's a lot of familiar tunes on this concert," says M.T. "Mo" Trout, who directs all the bands on the concert -- the Purdue Jazz Band, American Music Repertory Ensemble and Lab Jazz Band. Tunes like "The Best is Yet To Come," "Beat It," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Let the Good Times Roll," "For All We Know" and "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die."
Trout says the show will look at five different periods of Jones' productive career -- when he led his own big band, when "he made Michael Jackson into Michael Jackson, the real superstar of the 1980s" and his associations with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles.
Opening the program, the Lab Jazz Band's set focuses on Michael Jackson music, much of it from "Thriller." "You wouldn't think his music would lend itself to big band but it really does. I particularly like 'Bad' and 'The Girl is Mine.'" The later tune features Ian Romeo playing the Michael Jackson role on trombone while Travis Henning plays Paul McCartney on tenor saxophone.
When American Music Repertory Ensemble takes the stage, the focus changes to tunes that represent other high points in Jones' career. He won the first of his many Grammys in 1963 for his Count Basie arrangement of "I Can't Stop Loving You" which highlights the set. Coincidentally, that tune was on the very first recording made by the Purdue Jazz Band in the 1980s.
Quincy's three-year musical association as conductor and arranger with Frank Sinatra in the mid 1960s resulted in "Fly Me To The Moon," the first recording played by astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he landed upon the moon's surface in 1969. Lafayette arranger Eric VanCleave created special version of "Fly Me To the Moon" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" to feature the AMRE's vocal ensemble. That set also includes "Soul Bossa Nova" and one of the TV theme songs Quincy Jones made famous, "Sanford and Son."
The Purdue Jazz Band spotlights original music that he wrote and arranged for big band. Jones recently teamed up with Sammy Nestico for a "Basie and Beyond" CD and two tunes from it will be performed -- "Belly Roll" and "Hard Sock Dance." There's a bebop tune, "Let's Get Down," arranged by Jones' trombonist Melba Liston and a couple numbers by the Clayton Hamilton Big Band which was influenced by Quincy Jones -- "For All We Know" and "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die." "This set gives our really strong soloists a chance to shine," Trout says.
Quincy Jones' creative magic spanned more than six decades, beginning with the music of the post-swing era and continuing through today's high-tech hybrids. During this span he won an Emmy for "Roots," received seven Oscar nominations and 27 Grammy Awards. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 Grammy nominations.
"Quincy Jones: An American Musical Legend" is sponsored by Purdue Bands & Orchestras. It offers a full season of free jazz, concert band and orchestra events.