Quincy Jones
" Quincy Jones The 75th Birthday Celebration "
Eagle Eye Media

Blueswax 8
Rating 8

A Tribute Fit For a King- Quincy Jones, (10/14/09)

He's a trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, and conductor of pop, jazz, Blues, and funk. You have to admire Quincy Jones not only for writing a wide range of music. His attention to detail is impeccable, he always hires the best musicians available, and he is involved with making recordings that stand the test of time. As such, when it came time for Claude Nobs of the Montreux Jazz Festival to plan a seventy-fifth birthday celebration for Jones, it wasn't difficult to attract a boatload of talented people who gathered to honor Quincy. The result is a marvel to watch and listen to with almost everything performed to perfection. And what a huge band of countless musicians, background vocalists, and featured performers. It's all first class. Could anyone have expected anything different? Not. Now, not all of song selections were my favorites, but even when I was not crazy about specific songs, they were all executed magnificently.

The concert starts on the right foot with Herbie Hancock on piano performing "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" with Patti Austin and Stevie Woods on vocals. "Let the Good Times Roll" is next featuring a spry James Moody on sax, and Rahsaan Paterson's vocal. Fine justice is done to "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town/In the Heat of the Night" showing off Mick Hucknall's fine chops. Petula Clark does an admirable job on "One Mint Julep" which becomes "Going To Chicago Blues." Patti Austin and Chaka Khan put on a dazzling display on "Miss Celie's Blues." And one of the highlights of this fine two-disc set is an amazing cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" featuring the remarkable Toots Thielmans' gorgeous harmonica along with Patrice Rushen on keys, and singers Ledisi and Rahsaan Patterson.

Disc two opens in a great groove with Quincy's classic "Walking In Space" that features Chaka Khan's vocals, and Lee Ritenour's tasty guitar work. This set would not be complete without covering Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," but it's mostly a rap affair. Herbie Hancock returns with his strapped-on keyboards on an excellent version of the very bluesy "Killer Joe." The outstanding and amazing drummer Billy Cobham joins the fray for the final two tracks "Ai No Corrida" and the closer "Stuff Like That" which brings just about every guest who contributed on stage together.

This fine DVD is an amazing body of work, and considering all of the immense talent gathered and the dazzling big band, I'd have to think that this must have not been too easy to pull off, but they did! It was also great to see the very talented Nathan East on bass rocking his butt off, Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar, and the great Crusader Joe Sample's piano. But make no doubt about it, this is all about Quincy and his super talented arrangements. There's absolutely something here for everyone, and when it works for your musical tastes, you're going to love this highly sophisticated music. It's a tribute that's fit for a king, and Quincy Jones certainly deserves this monumental affair where most of his friends came out to pay homage.

Kudos to Eagle Eye Media for the fabulous forty-eight page booklet they've included. It's rare that DVDs (and CDs) pay so much attention to details, but they've certainly done a top-shelf job assembling this very informative narrative with absolutely nothing left out. Enjoy.

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com