Hardbopjazz

Quincy Jones calls Beatles 'worst musicians,' says MJ stole songs

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I guess you can get grouchy when you grow old. :)

Legendary music producer Quincy Jones dished on what he really thinks of some of his most famous collaborators, from The Beatles to Michael Jackson, in a wide-ranging interview with Vulture.

Though they're widely regarded as one of the greatest bands to ever play, Jones' first impression of The Beatles was hardly complimentary.

In fact, his initial reaction to the mop-top Liverpudlians was that "they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing m-----------s."

He took particular issue with Paul McCartney's bass-playing skills ("Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard") and Ringo's drumming ("Don't even talk about it").

Jones recalled a particular studio session in 1970 in which he was working on a version of "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" for Starr's debut studio album.

The producer said Starr was trying and failing for hours to master "a four-bar thing" and couldn't perfect it, so Jones suggested he "get some lager and lime, some shepherd's pie" and take a time out.

While Starr was gone, Jones said he called up jazz drummer Ronnie Verrell to master the bit in 15 minutes and when Starr heard it, he was impressed.

"I said, 'Yeah, m----------r because it ain't you,'" Jones recalled.

Meanwhile, Jones had plenty more to say on Michael Jackson, who bought The Beatles catalogue in 1985 as part of a multimillion dollar deal for Sony/ATV.

Jones who famously produced many of Jackson's albums, including 1982's record-shattering "Thriller" described his late pal as a "Machiavellian" and "greedy" man who swiped tracks from other artists without credit.

Jones, 84, cited "Billie Jean" as an example, and said the riff came straight from the 1982 Donna Summer track "State of Independence," which Jones had produced and on which Jackson sang backup.

"I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs," Jones said. "The notes don't lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come."...

 

More

http://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/quincy-jones-calls-beatles-worst-musicians-says-mj-stole-songs/ar-BBIPJrB?li=BBnbfcL&ocid=DELLDHP17

 

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I do not care. Nothing is changed in my world. If it changes your world, deal with it.

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Sounds like a bitter man.  

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1 minute ago, Brad said:

Sounds like a bitter man.  

A bitter rich man.

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What about all those jazz guys ripping off "I Got Rhythm" and "Cherokee"?

  

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The words spoken by "Quincy Jones" in the interview are actually those of Billy Byers.

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I read the interview and I didn’t see anything referring to Billy Byers. 

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Reference was to the  once well-known in jazz circles fact that after a certain point in his career as an arranger, Quincy farmed out much of the work credited to him to ghostwriters -- the prolific Billy Byers chief among them. The cover of one "arranged by Quincy Jones" album, don't recall which one, has a photo of members of the band and their music stands. On one of the open scores, Byers name can be seen at the top.

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"ARR BILL BYERS" is visible on the LP front cover of 'QJ Explores the Music of Henry Mancini'.  You can see it on the sheet music for 'Moon River', perched above a piano keyboard.  (Forget looking on the CD -- it's blurred-out.)

At least Q let Byers play on all the tracks -- probably for scale.

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I don't think he's bitter, but canny. What sells? Trash talk about celebrities and outrage. I know Phil Woods would have gone to war for him, and that he was good to Clark Terry. As for the music, I like his stuff and actually enjoy watching him conduct (like on Sinatra's LA is my Lady, which carries the name of the arranger for each track). 

About Sinatra at the Sands, it says "arranged by Quincy Jones" on the cover, but it is clear that most of the music has been adapted from Riddle's, May's and Jenkins's originals (and what else could he do, really?). Friedwald's book says that the new stuff ("Where or When", "The Shadow of Your Smile", "Get me to the Church on Time") is all by Byers -- interestingly, Sinatra never recorded those in the studio, but since then opted for Byers's "Where or When" instead of the earlier, more somber version for Capitol.

FWIW, Friedwald carries this quote by Byers: “Quincy was an excellent arranger, but he doesn’t write anymore. He found an easier and better way to go. Quincy is highly motivated and finds it tough to sit down long enough to write a whole chart. You have to be a recluse like Nelson [Riddle] was, to do orchestrations. Quincy would much rather be up front with the clients, doing what I call his ‘floor show’.”

F

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3 hours ago, Fer Urbina said:

I don't think he's bitter, but canny. What sells? Trash talk about celebrities and outrage.

That's what I thought. If the truth has a bitter taste, we're all up to it. It doesn't feel good to see mediocrity all around for so many years. I'm a pisces, too, so I can see his point ;)

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When do people think he stopped doing his own charts?

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Seems like the interviewer was a bit green (I've been there too) and Quinzy took him for a ride.

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16 minutes ago, alankin said:

When do people think he stopped doing his own charts?

Can't be sure, but I would guess the late '50s/early '60s -- about the time he formed the band that went to Europe with that stage show. What always seemed strange to me about this is  that QJ's own writing early on  (e.g. for for a good many EmArcy albums by Adderley, Jimmy Cleveland, etc. and certainly for his own fine ABC-Paramount album "This Is How I Feel About Jazz") was so distinctive in its voicings -- traits that none of those ghostwritten scores tried to reproduce. Among the last QJ-labeled charts that I felt pretty sure were his were the ones, or some of the ones, on the Basie album that included his composition for "Lena and Lennie."

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Far less interesting than what he has to say about Truman Capote.  I guess the Beatles get headlines in way that Truman Capote or Bernard Herrman cannot.

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I saw the Capote stuff but what did he say about Bernard Herman? 

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16 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

The words spoken by "Quincy Jones" in the interview are actually those of Billy Byers.

Speaking of Byers, that reminds me that it has been too long since I've listened to The Hawk in Hi Fi.

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I was also told that Gil Goldstein prepared the charts for the 1991 Miles at Montreux concert. This source may not be so credible though.

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He certainly gets some attention. The interview even made it to the front page of a major German online news portal (Spiegel Online), placed right after the news of a new government in Germany and a new fall of the Dow Jones Industrial index. It's a rare event to see a jazz musician featured so prominently in the news.

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31 minutes ago, bertrand said:

I was also told that Gil Goldstein prepared the charts for the 1991 Miles at Montreux concert. This source may not be so credible though.

A friend writes:

 

'He did.  He was given Gil Evans’ sketch scores to work from.  Only five years later were the full scores and parts found in a warehouse in Philadelphia.  (I’ve seen them.)'

 

 

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3 hours ago, medjuck said:

I saw the Capote stuff but what did he say about Bernard Herman? 

Only that contemporary film composers are lazy and that they should spend more time listening to Bernard Herrmann.  (I'm paraphrasing.)

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It's a shame that QJ isn't in touch with contemporary country music.  The songs there have all the hooks, melodicism and compositional integrity he looks for.

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13 hours ago, bertrand said:

I was also told that Gil Goldstein prepared the charts for the 1991 Miles at Montreux concert. This source may not be so credible though.

Was this some kind of secret? Seem like I've heard this all along?

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On 2/8/2018 at 2:34 AM, Fer Urbina said:

I don't think he's bitter, but canny. What sells? Trash talk about celebrities and outrage. I know Phil Woods would have gone to war for him, and that he was good to Clark Terry. As for the music, I like his stuff and actually enjoy watching him conduct (like on Sinatra's LA is my Lady, which carries the name of the arranger for each track). 

About Sinatra at the Sands, it says "arranged by Quincy Jones" on the cover, but it is clear that most of the music has been adapted from Riddle's, May's and Jenkins's originals (and what else could he do, really?). Friedwald's book says that the new stuff ("Where or When", "The Shadow of Your Smile", "Get me to the Church on Time") is all by Byers -- interestingly, Sinatra never recorded those in the studio, but since then opted for Byers's "Where or When" instead of the earlier, more somber version for Capitol.

FWIW, Friedwald carries this quote by Byers: “Quincy was an excellent arranger, but he doesn’t write anymore. He found an easier and better way to go. Quincy is highly motivated and finds it tough to sit down long enough to write a whole chart. You have to be a recluse like Nelson [Riddle] was, to do orchestrations. Quincy would much rather be up front with the clients, doing what I call his ‘floor show’.”

F

Hey Fer, I stumbled on to your Eddie Costa you tube collection. Some great stuff, but some of it wasn't EC. I think it was Don Abney(?) on the Lucky Thompson cuts, and Johnny Williams doing that great bass drone thing on the Sal Salvador version of 'Get Happy. Sounded like EC, anyway.

Have you ever heard the version of 'Taking A Chance on Love' EC did with Oscar Pettiford on 'Discoveries? Is it worth getting? He did that tune with Tal and on the Live at Newport LP.

One musician said that he was booked to play on a soundtrack that Q was scoring, and Q walked into the studio with no music! He just gave them some riffs and grooves to play, and that's how they did the entire score.

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