Quincy Jones: I saw Stravinsky every daymain
In a wonderfully unbuttoned THR interview, the great Hollywood composer and arranger spills the beans on everyone from Nadia Boulanger to Elvis Presley.
I learned very early why God gave us two ears and one mouth, wants us to listen twice as much as we talk, or he would have given us two mouths, not two ears. There’s 12 notes that have been floating around the universe for 720 years now, and we have those same 12 notes that Brahms, Bach and Beethoven had. When I [moved to Paris in 1957 and studied with Boulanger, I saw Stravinsky every day. He was with her, too.
What did you take from the classical music world?
Counterpoint, structure, science, left brain. Right brain is feeling, right? Emotion. We’ve got to learn everything about music because it is the most fantastic, magical gift. People cannot live without music or water, you know that? Could you live without music? I don’t want to…
Did you ever work with Elvis?
No. I wouldn’t work with him.
I was writing for [orchestra leader] Tommy Dorsey, oh God, back then in the ’50s. And Elvis came in, and Tommy said, “I don’t want to play with him.” He was a racist mother — I’m going to shut up now.
Read on here.