Sure, Quincy Jones Vulture interview has rocked the music world because he “spills the beans” on Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, and many other musical and cultural figures.
Largely overlooked by the media, though, is what he says about music.
The music part is where we as pianists can learn the most. We can start by simply absorbing what Q has to say, in passages like this:
“Musical principles exist, man. Musicians today can’t go all the way with the music because they haven’t done their homework with the left brain. Music is emotion and science. You don’t have to practice emotion because that comes naturally. Technique is different. If you can’t get your finger between three and four and seven and eight on a piano, you can’t play. You can only get so far without technique. People limit themselves musically, man.”
Reading this is only one step removed from being in the room with Quincy. Pretend he’s speaking to you one-on-one, and his words resonate more. Jones will nurture your musical worldview.
The bigger step, though, is to “follow up” on what he says. Go deeper. When Q mentions John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” for instance, take a moment and listen to the tune. (Vulture conveniently provides links to most of Q’s musical references. I wonder how many people actually take the initiative and click through.)
Let’s be different and take the initiative for ourselves. Go the extra step… or mile. (After all, Quincy makes it clear that he himself always went the extra mile. This is why he’s so knowledgeable.)
You can start by reading the interview here:
In Conversation: Quincy Jones
Simply read the interview until Quincy mentions something about music that you don’t know. Then click on the link or google the term he uses, and expand your universe.
Here are 5 places to start:
1. Can you hear the bebop influence in Michael Jackson’s Baby Be Mine?
2. Do you know who Nicolas Slominsky was? (John Coltrane sure did!)
3. For that matter, have you heard John Coltrane’s Giant Steps?
4. Some people consider Jimi Hendrix’ version of the Star-Spangled Banner to be genius. Jones thinks otherwise. What’s your opinion?
5. Do you know what Yoruba music is?
Those are just a few of the musical references that Quincy makes in the interview. You’ll learn a lot by following up on everything he says about music. Have fun, and “dig in!!!”