27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend Award in 1991.
In 1968, Jones and his songwriting partner Bob Russell became the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song; "The Eyes of Love" from the Universal Pictures film Banning. That same year, he became the first African American to be nominated twice within the same year for an Academy Award for Best Original Score for his work on the music of the 1967 film In Cold Blood. In 1971, Jones would receive the honor of becoming the first African American to be named musical director/conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. He was the first African American to win the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, in 1995. He is tied with sound designer Willie D. Burton as the most Oscar-nominated African American, each of them having seven nominations. At the 2008 BET Awards, Quincy Jones was presented with the Humanitarian Award. He was played by Larenz Tate in Ray, the 2004 biopic about Ray Charles.
In addition, Jones was the producer of the album Thriller, by pop icon Michael Jackson, which has sold more than 110 million copies worldwide, and was the producer and conductor of the charity song “We Are the World”.
He will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 as the winner, alongside Lou Adler, of the
Ahmet Ertegun Award.
Jones was born in Chicago, the oldest son of Sarah Frances (née Wells), an apartment complex manager and bank executive who suffered from schizophrenia, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a semi-professional baseball player and carpenter. When he was 10, his family moved to Bremerton, Washington and he attended Seattle's Garfield High School. It was in Seattle that Jones, 14, first met a 17-year-old Ray Charles and developed musically under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell.
His brother, Richard Jones, is a federal district court judge in Seattle, and has presided over several very high-profile cases, including the notorious Green River Killer Gary Ridgway.
In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Schillinger House (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston, Massachusetts. However, he abandoned his studies when he received an offer to tour as a trumpeter with the bandleader Lionel Hampton. While Jones was on the road with Hampton, he displayed a gift for arranging songs. Jones relocated to New York City, where he received a number of freelance commissions arranging songs for artists like Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Gene Krupa, and his close friend Ray Charles