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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Music > Jazz > Soul > Rock > Pop > Soundtracks > Listen Up: The Lives Of Quincy Jones (1990/Warner DVD)

Listen Up: The Lives Of Quincy Jones (1990/Warner DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: B-     Film: B



So much has been said about Quincy Jones and his amazing musical and entertainment legacy, but Ellen Weissbrod’s Listen Up: The Lives Of Quincy Jones (1990) is a uniquely done documentary biography work that tries not to be strait-jacketed into the usual chronological traps and show the subject with much depth and the participation of literally some of the most important names in the history of the music business.  It begins with Jones visiting his childhood home in Chicago many decades after leaving it and offers some stark, self-reflective moments.  Then this film goes on to be a deep character study of the man and his art.


Q, as he is also known, began his life in poverty and under tough living and family conditions.  Eventually, he turned to music full time early on and it eventually became his life, saved his life and changed the world of media art creating influential works in Jazz, Pop Music (he produced Leslie Gore’s classic hit “It’s My Party”), Movie Soundtracks, TV music, Soul Music and so much more.  He also moved into producing films and television, with more hits than failures.  With Ella Fitzgerald (who does an a Capella version of Jones’ theme to Sanford & Son that you have to here to believe), Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand and so many others you will sit stunned, it is a must-see film more than worth your time.  In addition, since so much has happened in the nearly two decades since its release, new extras have been added updating the film.


The 1.33 X 1 full frame image is a little soft and needs an HD upgrade, but looks good for the format and transfer considering.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound has problematic Pro Logic surrounds and even troublesome two-channel playback, so expect audio limits and watch playback levels, though that is not a problem on the extras that include 3 new documentaries (Q: The Man, Quincy Remembers, Hangin’ With Quincy & Gilberto Gil) and the original theatrical trailer.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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