SXSW09 Roundup: Quincy Jones keynote–3/19/09

Quincy_hands

I've been telling folks: I hear the word "keynote"–especially when attached to an icon like Quincy Jones–and I expect 20-30 minutes max from them.  But, Quincy, being the dean that he is, held forth for TWO AND A HALF HOURS!  I'm not going to try to recap the whole thing, but I will share my tweetstream from the event.  One surprising takeway–at least for me–is that Quincy was much more gangsta than anybody.  Literally, his early years were spent emulating the Jones Gang, the biggest Black gang in Chicago in the 30s.  His family moved to Seattle, where he continued with petty larceny and breaking and entering.  It was during one of those break-ins where he found a piano, and that changed the direction of his life.

Pretty wild to think about the fact that Quincy's been involved in music for 60 years, and has had an impact across an array of styles and artists.

Anyway, here are the nuggets that I extracted from his session:

  • Quincy talking abt growing up in Chicago, the Jones gang and how you are very much influenced by what you see everyday.
  • Quincy was really a little gangster, but it was during a break in that he discovered music. The piano.
  • Quincy; the fender bass and the electric guitar created the electric rhythm section.
  • Quincy: he and Ray wld say: "Not one drop of your acceptance of me determines my self-worth." Powerful! 
  • On the imagination tip, Quincy is like Obama, or vice versa. He has always believed that his possibilities were limitless
  • Q: The 15-20 second rule. You can tell who the great artists are. You can also tell when an artist is original.
  • Q is talking about Michael's first solo record, Off the Wall. Q loves to be underestimated.
  • Q: on songs: I just go by the music that gives me goosebumps. Music is thru us, not by us.
  • Q is always turned on by getting out of the box.
  • Q mentored by Steve Ross.
  • Michael on MTV took Q being in Acapulco with Steve Ross and Bob Pittman
  • Q: You've got to be spiritually grounded in order to be ready for success.
  • Q; Ross' 7 deal points-last 2 were deadline + consequence.
  • Q: if musicians were in charge, racism wldve been over a long time ago. 1 question: Can you play?
  • Q's showing a video clip of Ray singing a song @ Montreaux that he wrote about Q and their friendship. My buddy.
  • Q: Jazz is the classical music of American pop music.
  • Q: We need to make sure kids know their music history, since the world knows more about our music than we do.
  • Q: Herbie quote-The point of life is to live outside box so that the box doesn't exist.
  • Q: the power of being underestimated–people get out of year way, since they don't think you can do it.
  • Q just showed Oprah's audition reel for The Color Purple. She definitely had something.
  • Q: Imagine: it's 1989 and networks thought Will Smith was "dangerous". Ha! But sad.
  • Q: advice 4 artists: Imitate the artists you deeply love, copy them note 4 note, so you know what it's like to walk in the shoes of giants.
  • Q: Only 11% of Americans have passports and only 6% use them. We're close to becoming isolationists.
  • Q's global gumbo
  • Q's talking about upcoming applications of nanotechnology, and mentions the Cluetrain Manifesto @ cluetrain.com
  • Q: keys to a good life: Love, Live, Laugh, and Give.
  • Q has just held forth for two amazing hours.
  • Q has intro'd a new talent he's working with Bianca Ryan. Singing "god bless the child".
  • Bianca Ryan is 13 and can blow. Alfredo Rodriguez, who accompanied on piano, is pretty incredible, too

   

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