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Quincy Jones also appears in the video:
Crossroads of My Life

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Quincy Jones in the Achievement Curriculum section:
Pursuing a Career in Music

Related Links:
Quincy Jones Music
A Passion for Jazz

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Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Profile of Quincy Jones Biography of Quincy Jones Interview with Quincy Jones Quincy Jones Photo Gallery

Quincy Jones Interview (page: 6 / 9)

Music Impresario

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  Quincy Jones

Were there other teachers or musicians who had a big impact on you growing up?

Quincy Jones Interview Photo
Quincy Jones: Clark Terry used to come through town with Count Basie. I'd say, "Mr. Terry, I'd really love to study trumpet with you."

He said, "Well, what's a good time?"

I said, "The only time I can do it is before I go to school at 6:30."

He said, "I don't get home until 2:00 o'clock or 3:00 o'clock in the morning."

Clark Terry was a very important influence in my life.

He taught me how to put the trumpet on top of my lip on high notes so it didn't bleed when I played.

Lionel Hampton's band came through Seattle then too. That was a very significant thing in my life because as I said before we played with Bumps Blackwell's band and Charlie Taylor's band for Billie Holiday, and then Billy Eckstine, at 14 and 15 years old. So, Hamp came through there then, and that was my dream to be with that band, more than any band because I saw every band that came through: Stan Kenton, Basie, Duke, Louis Armstrong, everybody. I was out in front hypnotized every night. I just couldn't believe it, that there is the way to be a man, to have your dignity, to be proud of what you do. And there were 18 musicians -- there was something about that kind of unity, too -- that were really playing good, and made military bands look like military bands, or the white traveling bands, you know. But, there was something about it that just really hit a serious chord in me, and I wanted to know everything about it. That's why I wanted to write so quick. As soon as I picked up the trumpet I heard arrangements in my head of those ensembles. How do you write for 18 musicians, or eight brass and five saxes, and not have them playing the same notes?

[ Key to Success ] Vision

So there was a man named Joseph Powe, who was a military officer, and he had a dance band. He used to be with Wings over Jordan, which was a famous choir. And so he asked me to baby-sit for him, and I loved to baby-sit for him because I could read his Glenn Miller orchestration books, and he had a Frank Skinner book about underscoring movies. Bam! That was like walking into a wonderland. I got hung up on movies when I was 15.

Quincy Jones Interview Photo
I had written a suite called "From the Four Winds" that the Seattle University band played before I got out of high school. We came in from the high school and played it with the university band. They put our picture on the front page of the Seattle University paper.

Lionel Hampton had heard about this "Four Winds" thing and he asked me to join the band when I was 15. I hurried up and got on the bus. I didn't want to ask my parents or anybody. I wouldn't take a chance of losing it. I just shut up like a little mouse and everybody got on the bus and it was almost ready to take off and Gladys Hampton got on and said, "What's that child doing on this bus?" And I said, "Oh, my God!" She said, "Lionel, get that boy off. That's a child. That's not a grown-up. Put him back in school." And she said, "I'm sorry, son, but, you know, you're too young. Go back to school." I was destroyed, so she said, "We'll talk about it later."

My heart was broken. I got a scholarship to Seattle University and I was writing arrangements for singers and everybody. But the music course was too dry and I really wanted to get away from home.

I wanted to get out of that house. I didn't want to be there. Eight kids and a stepmother, and I just wanted to be out of there. So, when I got a scholarship from Boston to the Schillinger House, which is now the Berklee School of Music, I couldn't wait to get out of there. And my aunt sent me a ticket by train to go there. I stopped in Chicago and I went into Boston at night -- the most terrifying thing I've ever seen in my life. Because it was pitch black and you get there and you've got your trumpet and this little bag, your bag of clothes, not much, no place to stay but I had a scholarship and that was sort of a blanket, a security blanket I could hold on to. And, one thing led to another. I walked around the neighborhood to try to find out where I could stay. I got a place for $10.

[ Key to Success ] Courage

Quincy Jones Interview Photo
While I was in Boston, sure enough this lady, Janet Thurlow, who was in the Lionel Hampton band, kept reminding them of me, and they called me one day and I was so happy. I'm telling you, you have no idea. I told the Dean there, I said, "I'll be back." He knew I'd never be back, once I got out there with professional musicians.

The band was working 70 one-nighters in a row all through the south, doing 700 miles a night, with these guys that had been out there 30 years. I used to watch the old guys. I really respected their wisdom.

There was a guy named Bobby Plater who wrote "The Jersey Bounce." He was like the musical director, a wonderful man. He was kind to me, too. A lot of the old guys wouldn't talk to me because I was an arranger and a trumpet player, and they felt threatened. I guess that happens. But I used to watch him, and the guitar player who had been out there 30 years, and they knew all the cheap hotels.

We made $17 a night. You have to learn how to do that, too. And they had wash and wear shirts to carry in the sax case. I got one of those. And when they'd get in a hotel, we'd go to Father Divine's for 15 cents, you know, have the stool and stuff and say "Peace," when you go in the door. You'd fold up your pants and put them underneath the mattress. We couldn't afford to get them pressed. And you'd put your coat in the bathroom, turn the steam on, hang your wash and wear shirt there. Wash your handkerchief, put it on the mirror, and the next morning it's dry and you pull it off and it's already pressed, you know. And so I learned all these things from the guys that had been out there and I just watched. I really paid attention to what was going on, one thing leads to another and you grow.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

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This page last revised on Aug 26, 2015 19:12 EDT
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