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Quincy Jones Reworks Classics With Help of Hip-Hop Community

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After a stellar, 60-plus year career in music, Quincy Jones just released ‘Q: Soul Bossa Nostra,’ a collection of his past material that has been given a contemporary makeover from acts including John Legend, Talib Kweli and Akon.

The artist, composer, producer, arranger and conductor was born on the Southside of Chicago and has taken his show around the globe, creating music that runs the gamut of genres; from Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra to Ray Charles and Dizzie Gillespie. Putting a modern take on some of his classic tunes like ‘Strawberry 23,’ ‘The Secret Garden,’ and ‘Soul Bossa Nova,’ came at the behest of one of his followers. “Timbaland talked to me about six years ago in South Beach and said, ‘Here’s what we’d like to do … ‘ which was open it up to the whole hip-hop community,” said Jones. “So piece by piece people picked their songs and so forth. Most of the time everybody knew exactly what they wanted to do.”

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Jones serves as an executive producer on ‘Soul Bossa Nostra,’ with names like Q-Tip, Scott Storch and Jermaine Dupri handling the production duties. Besides the aforementioned producers, the hip-hop influence is well represented on the album with contributions from Ludacris, T.I. and Three 6 Mafia. While some of Jones’ peers and followers were quick to dismiss the hip-hop genre, Jones embraced the culture and music from its start. “Because it’s all part of our evolution,” said Jones of why he readily accepted hip-hop. “People don’t realize, just take jazz … In New Orleans, first there was Buddy Bolden, then there was King Oliver and he copied Buddy Bolden so he became King Oliver and got his own style, Louis Armstrong copied him and got his own style, Roy Eldridge copied him and got his own style, then Dizzy Gillepsie copied him. That’s the way it works, evolution.”

The insight Jones gives when answering his questions is only obvious considering he has taken home 27 Grammys — and has a record 79 nominations for the award — amidst a countless myriad of other honors (honorary doctorates, best selling author, etc.). Throughout the accolades and years, Jones was lead by a specific musical element. “Melody is the voice of God,” he begins, “That’s the power in music … melody, always will be.”

Watch Quincy Jones feat. Ludacris in ‘Soul Bossa Notra’

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