Quincy Jones and some of his biggest stars came to Atlanta on Thursday night to celebrate the 100 years of progress the American Cancer Society has made in the battle against cancer. In a birthday celebration hosted by Quincy Jones at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta he led and directed some his most talented stars including James Ingram, Patti Austin, Siedah Garrett and Nikki Yanofsky.
Of course the biggest star was the man himself. Quincy Jones is a musical visionary with a career spanning over 60 years. He is a composer, record producer, artist, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive. He is the all-time most nominated GRAMMY artist with 79 nominations.
What became apparent on Thursday night is that he is also someone who nurtures and develops artists through his personal relationships with them. Billed as an evening with his “friends” Quincy Jones frequently pointed out to the audience that these artists and those he has had the good fortune of working with through the years are “family” more than friends.
What also became obvious was that even at 80 years old, Quincy Jones has no intention of slowing down. He continues to nurture and develop new talent like Pentatonix, Allen Stone and Alfredo Rodriguez who also showcased their talents during the show.
The show started with these newer talents; Pentatonix is an a cappella group that won NBC’s The Sing Off show and they were followed by Alfredo Rodriguez a jazz pianist from Cuba.
Two early highlights of the evening involved Nikki Yanofsky when she came on and sang the Etta James classic “I’d rather go blind” in a version that was perfectly arranged allowing for her bluesy voice to be showcased and then she and Allen Stone sang a duet version of the Ray Charles number “I’m gonna move to the outskirts of town” after he had sung “Sleep.”
After an instrumental interlude when Quincy Jones conducted the big band in the themes from Sanford & Son and Ironsides and “Soul Bossa Nova” Siedah Garrett came out and performed two Michael Jackson hits, “I just can’t stop loving you” and “Man in the mirror.”
If the audience hadn’t had enough by that time Patti Austin came on and sang a set that was full of her hits. She gave way to James Ingram whose “whiskey voice” was in fine form particularly on “Just Once.”
Then Ingram and she sang wonderful version of “How do we keep the music playing.”
The evening ended with the entire cast of the evening’s performers singing “Georgia on my mind.”
It was the perfect way to finish a great evening of musical entertainment and a perfect way to celebrate the American Cancer Society and its 100 years of progress in the battle against cancer. One of the current themes of the American Cancer Society is to take a “Moment Against Silence.” Advocates in the battle need to speak up to change public policy and behavior to lead the fight against all forms of cancer.
Quincy Jones & Friends took a major step in celebrating all that the American Cancer Society has accomplished in the fight against cancer by taking almost three hours of great musical Moments Against Silence on Thursday night at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.