While revisiting his classic catalogue Q proves he's timeless.
Quincy Jones has been around for a long time. For sure that's an understatement. He's made some classic records of his own and produced even more gems for others. From Frank Sinatra to Ray Charles and from 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air' to 'Thriller'. This legendary producers catalogue is so extensive you may forget, or in some cases not even realise what he's done. For example did you know Q scored 'The Italian Job'? Producing a song that has become a terrace favourite in English football stadiums. Q branched over to soccer before ESPN did and wrote a song so perfectly English you'd never believe it was him until you read the credits. Good work.
So in the second decade of the new millennium Q revisits more tracks that made him a legend of the last century on his latest album, 'Q: Soul Bossa Nostra'. For help Quincy enlists the talents of some of his old and new friends from the urban music scene. From Amy Winehouse to Bebe Winans these stars help keep these timeless classics eternal.
This set opens with the 'Ironside' theme, updated and assisted by legendary, B.K. M.C. Talib Kweli. The sharp lyricist keeps his rhymes cutting edge as Jones provides a backing beat that most big name hip-hop producers would kill to have. From the first evoking siren this track is more than a sample. It feels like your back listening to one of your fathers records from the late 70's complete with it's scratches.
The impressive re-inventions continue with the sweet 'Strawberry Letter 23', where Akon adds his trademark instantly catchy hooks to a classic that was always a crowd creator in the clubs. The best this album has to offer however comes with the help of Hollywood leading man Jamie Foxx and the Quincy dubbed "genius", who Jones believes will be "artistically and socially significant as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder", John Legend. Foxx reinvigorates the George Benson classic 'Give Me The Night' live in living colour, while Legend furthers his and Q's status with a great present day update of yesteryear's 'Tomorrow'.
Mr. Jones once again teams up with several rappers to show that he can get down with any genre, just like he did back in the 80's. On the album title cut 'Soul Bossa Nostra' Q and Ludacris once again revisit the 'Austin Powers' theme for yet more groovily funny one liners. What results is trademark Ludacris rhyming and Quincy Jones reputation for having fun. The pair hit the 'Number One Spot' yet again. Fellow ATL rappers T.I and B.O.B. close this album well with 'Sanford & Son' while who better to update 'Get Da Funk Out Of My Face' than the godfather of G-Funk himself, Snoop Dogg?
Wyclef Jean pays homage on 'Many Rains Ago (Oluwa)' as perfectly as he paid tribute to Luther Vandross on his dedication album. The ever versatile 'Clef produces yet another standout. Mary J. Blige and Q-Tip also provide magic on a long overdue collaboration. With 'Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me' the two Q's are on point with a little bit of Mary Jane.
Quincy Jones is renowned for spotting great talent and he gives the floor twice to rising soul star Robin Thicke. With T-Pain, Thicke does a decent job covering the Rocky Robin, Michael Jackson's 'P. Y. T. (Pretty Young Thing)' but it's on 'Secret Garden' where the singer really blooms. On a big collaboration with R&B hit men Usher and Tyrese, Tevin Campbell, rap legend LL Cool J (who Quincy Jones III produced) and some posthumous Barry White vocals Q enlists the best of the best to bring out exactly that.
Overall Quincy Jones latest is a nice, solid effort that pays homage to some of his finest work. A lot of musical ground is covered here. Still at times it feels like a bit if an outside tribute album and for a man who was known to produce anything it's a bit genre specific. With that being said however it's still a great album which leaves us Jonsing for more new Q. Whether for albums or soundtrack the world misses a touch of Q. The legend lives on through this CD proving he really is the greatest. As we look forward to what Quincy is going to come up with next however we realise that there's always nothing like the original. The timeless, classic legend keeps going. TIM DAVID HARVEY.