The remixes below of Quincy Jones’s exquisite productions are meant only to selfishly extend the passion and joy presented in the documentary “Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones,” probably the finest stylistic treatment of a documentary subject in music that I have seen. The amalgamation of picture with sound adeptly captures the spirit of mixing instruments into a cohesive, greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts music production for which Mr. Jones is so esteemed. It is essentially the best representative pairing of audio documentary with film as a purely multi-sensory Delight. 😉
Since I saw “Listen Up” at the time of its release, I’ve wanted even more of the musical context—it could’ve run hours and I would have been no less enthralled with my fellow Berklee alum. So a few years ago I took the documentary audio of a few key song stories and combined each with the full songs from the album in order to simply be steeped more completely in his magic, in the form of an pocket audio movie that I could experience at any time away from the screen.
These are not flashy or overworked remixes; rather they are mere extensions—a straightforward music lover’s homage to the creative spirit of one of our cultural treasures: Quincy D. Jones, Jr.
The audio includes three sequenced mixes. The first is from the in-studio, behind-the-scenes making of “Tomorrow” that combines some of its raw immediacy with a transition into the actual finished track. And, at the end, once again it comes full circle to the film’s commentary.
Then there is the doc’s telling of the “Birdland” story. The opening is from the movie, with the interview segments punched up and leveled out in spots to make it all more consistent when listening in the absence of picture. Then it transitions into the full song from the album. Finally, it comes back around to the documentary sound.
My favorite transformation that I created is with Ray Charles running down takes of the tracking for “I’ll Be Good to You.” The track’s instrumental portion was already fleshed out so that you hear the interplay between singer Ray and producer Quincy in a creative push and pull to put it in the pocket, which then bursts into what became the completed recording. But stick around for what I did at the end; it leaves a smile on my face every time.
Celebrate the legacy of Q!