Netflix doc tunes into jazzman Jones’s career
TORONTO — Oh, to live life like Quincy Jones.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, Netflix unveiled Quincy, a new documentary (streaming Sept. 21) written and directed by his actor daughter, Rashida Jones, and documentarian Alan Hicks.
At just over two hours, the feature is a sprawling look at the outspoken 85-year-old musician’s stunning 70-year career, from his humble beginnings in Chicago’s Depression-era South Side (where he became a trumpet prodigy) to being a gifted composer and mega-producer who had an impact on the lives of stars including Frank Sinatra, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jackson and Will Smith.
What kept Quincy shaking paradigms over seven decades? “I never wanted to be a grown-up,” he said at the Q&A that followed the screening, to laughter. “Grown-ups are boring.”
There was a ton of footage for the directing duo to wade through. Onstage, Hicks said they shot 800 hours of footage of “Q” and had access to 2,000 hours of his archival footage.
“You can’t get it all in!” cracked Quincy, whose arrangement of Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon was played on the actual moon.
Grounded by intimate videos showcasing his warm wit, Quincy is paced with the same sense of urgency the musician has been propelled by throughout his life.
The film chronicles his upbringing with a schizophrenic mother; a worldly outlook gained as a teen who travelled the world playing jazz; the countless artists he mentored, and the 51 Hollywood films and TV shows he scored (breaking the barrier on African-American film composers).
Marriages came and went, seven children were born.
Quincy Jones suffered twin brain aneurysms in 1974 and a stroke in 2015. He has since quit drinking.
What surprised Rashida about her father after combing through the story of his life?
“I think it was just the consistency of pattern that he pushed himself to the limit every decade — to sometimes a health crisis or a nervous breakdown or whatever it was,” she said.
“And then every single time, [he] managed to survive, reset, recalibrate and make a decision to live his life in a different way.”
Rashida turned to her famous father. “You’ve got a lot of lives, Dad.”
“Don’t stop till you get enough,” Quincy grinned.
Quincy Jones, centre, stands on the red carpet with his daughter Rashida Jones and Al Hicks, co-director of the documentary, Quincy, at the Toronto International Film Festival.