Quincy Jones arrives for the Clive Davis & The Recording Academy's 2013 Pre-Grammy Gala And Salute To Industry Icons in Beverly Hills, California, February 9, 2013. AFP PHOTO Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
BEL AIR, Calif. — Quincy Jones turned 80 on March 14, a milestone he celebrated privately with his family. But the music impresario has too many friends, protégés, admirers and close business and charity associates to stop there.
He and British actor Michael Caine, born within minutes of each other on opposite sides of the Atlantic, will be toasted April 13 at an all-star benefit in Las Vegas. The close pals will cut loose at a second shindig July 24 in London. Another glittery 80th bash for Jones rolls out July 21 in Montreux, with two more slated July 31 and Aug. 1 in Tokyo.
“It’s all over the world!” Jones marvels. He’s quick to point out that these are not retirement parties. “I’m not leaving yet. I look back and it feels like 20 people did this. It’s been a life, man!”
Jones will be doing more than blowing out candles this year. He’s producing a half-dozen albums by mostly newbies. Another pairs bebop trumpeter Clark Terry and rapper Snoop Dogg. In August, he’ll stage the World Peace Concert in Hiroshima.
Jones is also developing four Broadway shows, including one on his life story, and nine movies, from a biopic on Russian poet Alexander Pushkin to tales of Chicago gangsters. And he’s composing a musical on the evolution of jazz.
Alarmingly, Jones’ earliest goal was to hook up with the criminal elements of Chicago’s South Side, where his father was a carpenter.
“A gang caught me on the wrong street once, and that’s how I got my medal,” he says, pointing to a scar on his hand where it had been nailed to a fence with a switchblade. “Chicago was rough. I thought it was glamorous: tommy guns and stogies and piles of money in back rooms. They were vicious criminals, but we took it for granted, and that’s sick.”
Had a piano not shifted his focus, “I would have been dead or in prison.”
Today, he’s in fine health. “Feel that,” he says, extending a forearm. “Isn’t that something? The doctor told me, ‘I can keep you here until you’re 110, if you behave.’ Can I start behaving at 109?”
Gannett News Service