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Quincy Jones Welcome



"This is Quincy Jones, and I’d like to, from the bottom of my heart, welcome you all here tonight to the release party for the Jazz Icons DVDs. I think they are just amazing. I’m glad somebody finally cares and knows what’s going on. I was very pleased when I saw the various artists involved in this, and fortunately I’ve been blessed enough to have worked with most of them. In the audience here tonight I hear you also have Benny Powell, Frank Wess, Phil Woods and Joe Harris. Good God, you’re taking me back there now. They’re all part of my family and I’m part of theirs, and proud of it.

It’s a very strange time now for jazz, it always has been. We were lucky because we came up in a time where we couldn’t get away from it. It was just like ether in the air. You had to eat it, drink it, sleep it— 24/7. Today, in talking to a lot of the young people, I come down on them, sometimes pretty hard because they don’t know enough about jazz, and what’s really going on. Because it’s way past just one genre—it’s a way of thinking. As you all know, music does affect the left brain and the right brain simultaneously, because it’s a combination of soul and science, intellect and emotion, and it’s a powerful, powerful influence. I know most of the steps I made in my life are based on me starting at such a young age with bebop and jazz and big bands, writing music and all that stuff and playing trumpet.

You all out there know what’s up and I hope and pray that one day we’ll see soon a country that makes it a mandatory part of the curriculum to study the Monks and the Dizzy Gillespies and the Duke Ellingtons and the Basies and on and on and on. Coltranes and Miles, etc. Because it’s the classical music of all pop music in the world. Ironically, everyplace else in the world, every country—I’ve been around the world three times this year—every other country gets it. They know it’s the most unique and the biggest cultural contribution that America’s ever given to the world—jazz and blues. Ironically, indicated by what just happened with Katrina to Mississippi and New Orleans.

Our wish now is that the young people understand what a heritage this country has, because every other country in the world has put their indigenous music behind them and accepted and embraced our music as a means of expression and an Esperanto. I hope that happens to us one day. I am sure in the future, the nearby future, that we will hear the names of the Coltranes and Lester Youngs and all of these great people, Louis Armstrong, right alongside Brahms, Bach and Beethoven, as they should be, or as in Russia—Stravinsky, Shostakovich and all the great Russian composers. They have a mandatory curriculum from two years old through college and that’s what I pray for for this country with every cell in my body and I know everybody in this audience feels the same way, so let’s gang up on them and try to get it going.

I wish I were there tonight, I know you’re going to have a lot of fun, but it’s so, so important and I’m really happy to be considered a part of this.

All my love."


The RITY crew with Q: (l-r) David Peck, Quincy Jones, Phil Galloway, Tom Gulotta

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