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Pop & Jazz Orchestra

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Recapping the Quincy Jones Prom

Quincy Jones at the BBC Proms 2016 BBC/Mark Allan

When the last note of Let The Good Times Roll was played, the Royal Albert Hall nearly seemed to explode. The Metropole Orkest, conducted by living legend Quincy Jones himself – together with multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier, singer Laura Mvula, pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and bass player and singer Richard Bona – ended this BBC Prom with a song Jones arranged for Ray Charles nearly 60 years ago. The feedback from the audience was so excessive and positive, that even moderator Clarke Peter could hardly hear himself speak. According to Classical Source a “seismic ending to a memorable concert”.

Together with the Metropole Orkest and conductor Jules Buckley the soloists Collier, Mvula, Rodriguez, Bona as well as Cory Henry recreated songs from Jones’ past to honour him and tribute him with this Prom. All together they succeeded completely in “making this a programme for the present rather than merely a retrospective” (Classical Source).

“If Quincy Jones is not amongst the greatest artistic figures of the post-war era, he is assuredly one of the most versatile. Just how versatile was the concept underlying this Prom – in which jazz, soul and funk rubbed shoulders with big band, hip-hop and soundtracks for a more than plausible overview of Jones’ creative legacy.” (Classical Source)

“This concert never stopped, surging ever forward and changing gears as smoothly as a sports car.” (The Arts Desk)

“Dutch-based jazz and pop ensemble Metropole Orkest added lush ballast, percussive cadence, harmonious decoration and acrobatic string crescendos, while a series of star turns were tastefully deployed to breathe new life into the songs.” (The Telegraph)

“Jones, who is known to be highly critical, was invited to come to the North Sea Jazz Festival where coincidentally Metropole Orkest Big Band played his music. Based on the impression the ensemble made, he agreed to work together on this BBC Prom (…) The day before the concert Quincy Jones joined the orchestra during the rehearsal, entering with a big smile on his face. When producer Gert-Jan Blom asked him, if he was happy – Jones answered: “Beyond Happy!”” (De Volkskrant)

“According to Metropole’s lead-trumpet player Ray Bruisma playing with Jones is a child’s dream; “As soon as I heard we are going to play with him, I got nervous. Playing with Quincy Jones at the BBC Proms, that’s the Olympic Games for musicians.”” (De Telegraaf)

“There was no lack in praise and devotion by the audience for the Metropole Orkest on Monday night’s Quincy Jones Prom. Quincy Jones himself insisted on the Dutch Metropole Orkest playing at his tribute in the Royal Albert Hall. And despite MO’s national and international reputation the future existence of the orchestra is not ensured.” (Algemeen Dagblad)

“The young singer-pianist Jacob Collier added a spirited reading of In the Real Early Morning, and the pianist Alfredo Rodriguez – another Jones protégé – fitted neatly into the Afro-Cuban contours of Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca.” (The Times)

“Quincy Jones told an interviewer in the past, that he didn’t want to be the kind of jazz musician who grumbled about the predominance of pop music – he wanted to influence it. (…) The proms paid him tribute not just as one of the most influential figures in African American music, but as a humane and generous mentor, and much-loved contemporary artist. Holland’s versatile jazz/classical Metropole Orkest often became a giant funk band under Jules Buckley’s baton (…) This memorable gig paid heartfelt and thoughtful tribute to Jones’ extraordinary legacy.” (The Guardian)

With the songs Chump Change and Manteca, the Metropole Orkest and the soloists, as well as Quincy Jones himself paid tribute to the on Monday deceased Toots Thielemans, a good friend of the orchestra as well of Jones.