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Quincy Jones: The Quincy Jones ABC/Mercury Big Band Jazz Sessions

Quincy Jones, a 2008 NEA Jazz Master, stood out from his fellow honorees when they gathered in Toronto at this year’s IAJE conference. For unlike trumpeter Joe Wilder and the rest, “Q” traveled with a security detail. He is among the hugest of pop-music celebrities, but as the NEA has rightly acknowledged, nothing can elide his early achievements as a jazz arranger and bandleader. Mosaic’s five-disc Quincy Jones box set is well timed, therefore. The fact that Wilder, perhaps the least widely known NEA Jazz Master to date, appears on several of these historic sessions is a delicious irony.

In his booklet essay (illustrated by Chuck Stewart’s classic photographs), Brian Priestly takes the measure of Quincy Jones, the sought-after arranger for James Moody, Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie and more, who defied the economic odds and launched his own working big band, long after the close of the big band era. Jones’ group was predominantly African-American-still unusual at that time, Priestly notes-though one of the most prominent solo voices was Phil Woods, whose mellifluous bop alto gilds this box from start to finish.

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