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Quincy Jones: Q Live in Paris circa 1960

This album helps explain why so many people who heard Jones’ 18-piece “Free and Easy” band, and those who played in it, wish it had survived the demise of the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer musical. After the show folded in Paris in early 1960, Jones kicked off a European tour that included a concert at the Alhambra Theater in Paris. He hoped to save the band, but before the year was out, business was so bad that he had to give it up.

Decades later, nearly an hour of the Alhambra concert surfaced on a noisy bootleg CD. Cleaned up, remastered and legitimized on Jones’ label, it is evidence of the musicianship, excitement, swing and just plain fun that radiated from a remarkable band of all-stars. Although in spirit it resembled the Count Basie band of the period, Jones’ outfit exceeded Basie’s in adventuresomeness.

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