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FROM THE TOP

“You know the real reason you do a book like this? It’s so you can actually remember all the things that have happened to you in 75 years of life.” Quincy Jones let out a loud laugh at that one. The man who has 27 Grammys on his shelves has been playing a duet with music history for five decades, and most of the high notes are recounted in “The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions.”

The lavish hardcover is a collection of interviews, letters, mementos and more than 400 photographs. “That picture there of me and Frank Sinatra, that was the day we met,” he said. “We were at the Sporting Club. He had called me up and asked if I would come down and work with him and the Count Basie Orchestra. Do you know what it’s like to get a phone call like that? It’s like God calling.”

Bono wrote the preface. “That one, he’s my partner in crime. I’ve known him 25 years now, and he’s just a beautiful person.” The most famous friendship of his life was with Ray Charles, and while Jones said the Taylor Hackford film “Ray” had to play loose with the facts, it got the essence of their youthful meeting right. “We were kids up in the Pacific Northwest, and I was from Chicago, and I mean there were no black people up there -- it’s like they didn’t exist. Ray and I decided early on that we would never let our self-worth be affected by anything external. That was for survival, really.”

Jones said the election of Barack Obama had energized him, and he hopes that the president-elect creates a cultural minister for the U.S. “We’re the only country that doesn’t have one, and our culture and music reach out everywhere. We need to embrace that and also live up to it. It’s like Frank used to say: ‘When it rains, go get wet.’ ”

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-- Geoff Boucher


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