Quincy Jones on the marketing of jazz and the likelihood of success of a “properly-backed chimpanzee”

November 1st, 2017

Quincy Jones’ debut album, recorded in September, 1956

 

_____

 

I came across a classic August, 1956 piece in Down Beat, “A Tribute to Brownie,” in which none other than Quincy Jones pays homage to the recently deceased Clifford Brown, and expresses a critical eye on the business of jazz – and his fellow performers – at the time…Here is the prominent and most entertaining section of the piece:

 

Here was the perfect amalgamation of natural creative ability, and the proper amount of technical training, enabling him to contribute precious moments of musical and emotional expression.  This inventiveness placed him in a class far beyond that of most of his poll-winning contemporaries.  Clifford’s self-assuredness in his playing reflected the mind and soul of a blossoming young artist who would have rightfully taken his place next to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and other leaders in jazz.

 In this generation where some well-respected and important pioneers condemn the young for going ahead, Brownie had a very hard job.  He constantly struggled to associate jazz, it’s (sic) shepherds, and it’s (sic) sheep, with a cleaner element, and held no room in his heart for bitterness about the publicity-made popularity and success of some of his pseudo-jazz giant brothers, who were sometimes very misleading morally and musically.  As a man and a musician, he stood for a perfect example and the rewards of self-discipline. 

It is really a shame that in this day of such modern techniques of publicity, booking, promoting, and what have you, a properly-backed chimpanzee can be a success after the big treatment.  Why can’t just one-tenth of these efforts be placed on something that is well-respected, loved, and supported in every country in the world but it’s (sic) own?

Except for a very chosen few, the American music business man and the majority of the public (the Elvis Depressley followers specifically) have made an orphan out of jazz, banishing its creators and true followers and adopting idiots that could be popular no place else in the universe.  I’ll go so far as to bet that the salaries of Liberace, Cheeta, and Lassie alone could pay the yearly cost of booking every jazzman in the country.

This is why it’s such a shame that Clifford Brown, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and others have to leave the world so unappreciated except for a small jazz circle.  I hope some of us live to see a drastic change.

 

_____

 

 

 

 

Share this:

One comments on “Quincy Jones on the marketing of jazz and the likelihood of success of a “properly-backed chimpanzee””

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

In this issue, 25 noted critics, writers, musicians and artists answer the question, “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”…Also, an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; ”And so we left for Paris” a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht (one on Paul Desmond, the other on Art Farmer); 18 poets contribute 20 poems to our March poetry collection; new jazz listening recommendations; and lots more…

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art

Short Fiction

"And so we went to Paris," a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Poetry

Eighteen poets contribute 20 poems in the March collection

Interviews

Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

The Joys of Jazz

Two new podcasts from Bob Hecht -- on Paul Desmond, and Art Farmer

Poetry

“King Louis en le toilette” — a poem (and collage) by Steven Dalachinsky

On the Turntable

Recommended listening…Check out these 18 recently released jazz recordings by Branford Marsalis, Anna Maria Jopek, Ralph Alessi, Larry Grenadier, Jon Cowherd, Stephane Galland, Mathias Eick and the Jimbo Tribe

Art

“Thinking about Robert Johnson” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Great Encounters #54

In this edition, Joe Hagan, author of STICKY FINGERS: .The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, writes about how co-founders Wenner and legendary San Francisco music critic Ralph Gleason came upon the name for their revolutionary publication, Rolling Stone magazine.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Coming Soon

An interview with Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon

In the previous issue

The February, 2019 issue features an interview with Thomas Brothers, author of Help! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration…Also, previous winners of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest reflect on their winning story; two new podcasts from Bob Hecht; a new collection of poetry; recommendations of recently release jazz recordings, and lots more…

Contributing writers

Site Archive