Thursday, January 20, 2022

Oprah, Gladys, LL and Others Celebrate Quincy Jones’ 85th B-day in BET Made-For-TV Special (EUR Exclusive!)

quincy jones 85 - oprah
Oprah Winfrey at Q85

*(Los Angeles, CA) – Respect and admiration was the theme at the Microsoft Theater at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday night (09-25-18) as dozens of celebrities participated in an all-star 85th birthday salute (Q85) to music legend Quincy Jones. Although his actual birthday was March 14th, this special tribute was recorded and will air in December on BET.

Oprah Winfrey, who first gained national fame as Sophia in the Jones-produced movie, “The Color Purple,” headlined the event. She made two on-screen appearances: one on stage and another from the audience standing next to the musical genius, as she paid homage to her longtime friend. Jones, who could be considered a modern-day Mozart or the Black Beethoven with his incredible body of work that spans over six decades, enjoyed the evening immensely.

The two sat side-by-side during the entire show. Oprah was seen having a great time moving to the beats of Jones’ music performed by various artists including Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Ledisi, Gregory Porter and Meghan Trainor.

quincy jones 85 - yolanda & eric
Yolanda Adams & Dr. Eric J. Chambers

Gospel music great Yolanda Adams brought the house down with her soulful renditions  of “Many Rains Ago” and “Oh, Lord Come By Here,” two staple songs from Jones’ “Roots” TV mini-series soundtrack. The orchestra, led by Greg Phillinganes, did an amazing job all night. They performed the music icon’s TV theme songs from “Perry Mason” and “Sanford & Son,” as well as movie music such as “Miss Celie’s Blues (Sister)” from “The Color Purple,” much to the delight of Oprah and pop singer Charlie Puth, who was spotted in the audience.

Usher, Danny Glover, comedian  Dave  Chappelle,  and  rapper/actors  Ludacris  and LL Cool J, who respectfully referred to the honoree as, Mr. Jones, until Jones insisted he call him Q, presented spoken tributes to him. And Will Smith, via a pre-recorded video clip, said Jones

is the absolute reason for his success beginning with his role as the fresh prince in the TV series, “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” He said while at a party at Jones’ home where a bunch of NBC execs had gathered, Jones insisted he do an impromptu audition which landed him the role that would change his life forever.

The event chronicled some little known facts from Jones’ illustrious career including the life-threatening brain aneurysm he suffered in 1974. His family believed he was dying and started planning a memorial service for him which eventually took place. With his neurologist at his side, he attended the event with such stars as Richard Pryor, Marvin Gaye  and Sidney Poitier  on hand participating.

A second surprise story is his first hit was Lesley Gore’s iconic mid-1960s song, “It’s My Party.” And another of her chart-toppers, “You Don’t Own Me” were two of the four, million- copy songs he produced for her while he served as A&R director of Mercury Records. Jones also worked with such legendary artists as Dinah Washington, Sarah VaughanCount Basie,   Ray Charles, Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra.

quincy jones 85 - puth & eric
Singer Charlie Puth & Dr. Eric J. Chambers

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quincy jones 85 - stevie wonder on screen
Stevie Wonder was in the house!

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quincy jones - crowd at taping
Crowd shot at Q85 taping

The evening’s music ranged from jazz to gospel to pop as Ne-Yo performed a couple of Michael Jackson’s songs including “Human Nature” and “Rock With You,” as he had the crowd on its feet swaying from side to side. With his left foot in a walking boot after breaking it two days earlier, Ne-Yo said there was no way he’d miss this tribute, even if he lost his foot.

Gloria Estefan and her daughter Emily, who is Jones’ goddaughter, performed a duet together. And Patti Austin, another of his goddaughters, performed hers and James Ingram’s signature song, “Baby, Come To Me.” In Ingram’s absence, she sang hers and his parts as the audience laughed hearing her playfully switch from soprano to tenor and back to soprano.

After from parting words Jones, the winner of 27 Grammys and a record, 79 nominations, the event ended with Gladys Knight singing “Home,” a song made famous in “The Wiz,” a broadway show produced by Jones. A large contingency of family and friends that included his doctor were present to enjoy the love shown to the man simply called Q.

Veteran TV producer Kenneth Ehrlich, known for producing the Grammys for over 30 years, served as executive producer.

(Words and pictures by Dr. Eric J. Chambers, TheCUTNetwork.com)

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