Netflix's new Quincy Jones doc can barely contain his shockingly accomplished career
Legendary music producer Quincy Jones walks the Toronto International Film Festival red carpet for "Quincy," a documentary about his life, directed by his daughter Rashida. (Sept. 10)
TORONTO – Oh, to live life like Quincy Jones.
On Sunday at Toronto International Film Festival, Netflix unveiled "Quincy," a new documentary (streaming Sept. 21) written and directed by his actress 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 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.
Jones made headlines earlier this year after calling Paul McCartney "the worst" bass player, saying he dated Ivanka Trump and claiming Marlon Brando and Richard Pryor slept together (he later apologized for those comments).
That brouhaha is not in "Quincy," which is grounded by intimate videos showcasing the producer's warm wit. What viewers can expect is a documentary paced with the same sense of urgency the musician has been propelled by throughout his life.
The frank film chronicles his upbringing with a schizophrenic mother, who was taken from his home in a straitjacket; his teen years spent playing jazz around the world (and his experience in the South, where he was made to eat and sleep separately from whites); his classical training in Paris; the countless artists he mentored (it was Jones who inspired Winfrey to take her first acting leap), 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, inspiring his proposal to Peggy Lipton. Cameras follow his stroke in 2015, which put him in a diabetic coma. 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 'til you get enough,” Quincy grinned.
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