When it comes to accolades, Quincy Jones, or “Q” to his friends, is tough to beat.
Consider these statistics: He has recorded more than 2,900 songs and 300-plus albums; written 51 scores for film and TV (“In the Heat of the Night,” “The Color Purple,” “Sanford & Son”) and more than 1,000 compositions; won 27 Grammys, the second highest of all time; and is a member of the elite EGOT club, winners of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
But Rashida Jones (Quincy’s daughter with actress Peggy Lipton, and star of TV’s “Parks and Recreation” and “Angie Tribeca” ) wants you to forget all that.
In “Quincy,” a new documentary directed by Jones and Australian filmmaker Alan Hicks, premiering Friday, Sept. 21, at select theaters and on Netflix, the goal is to get to know the man behind the stats.
“We wanted people to feel like they’re in the inner circle, to feel what it’s like to hang out with this guy, to be in the room, in the middle of conversations, to feel his ups and downs,” says Hicks. “You film somebody long enough, that stuff comes out.”
Hicks should know. He and Rashida shot more than 800 hours of footage, trailing Quincy, now 85, at home and on the road at concerts, award shows and hospitals (during several medical emergencies), then reviewed 2,000 additional hours of home movies, TV news clips and other archival material.
“It was, um, a lot,” says Hicks, chuckling.
But there’s a lot to cover. In Quincy’s career of 71 years and counting, he’s composed, conducted and arranged for the greats — Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett, to name a few — while serving as Frank Sinatra’s go-to guy at Sinatra’s peak. He produced the world’s best-selling album of all time (Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”) and best-selling single (“We Are the World,” raising $63 million for famine relief in Africa).
Fueling the careers of Sinatra and Jackson would be impressive enough, but Quincy went on to produce for films and TV, helping launch both Will Smith and Oprah Winfrey into superstardom.
“The secret behind Quincy is his personality,” says Hicks. “It’s this perfect storm of talent mixed with the ability to connect with humans.
“When he speaks to you, he’s locked in,” Hicks continues. “It’s like you’re the most important person in the world, and he’s trying to learn from you.”
He’s also trying to teach.
“You can’t live without water — or music,” Quincy advises in the documentary. ‘You can’t live without ‘em.”