Album:Summer In The City
For all he has done in his long career, we tend to forget that Quincy Jones is a jazz musician. Killer Joe is a significant record because it was Jones' return as a recording artist after he was a behind the scenes figure for most of the 60s. It was also Jones' first chart single in 1970. Jones first led his own big band in the late 50s. But he wasn't making any money so when Mercury Records offered him the musical director job at their New York City studio, he took it. By 1964, Jones was promoted to vice president. He was producing all kinds of artists. The most successful was Lesley Gore. Then he composed the score for the 1964 film The Pawnbroker which led to Jones move to Los Angeles. So for the rest of the 60s, he worked on films and TV. He left Mercury in 1965. He didn't have a record deal when he was writing for films. He decided to sign with A & M Records in 1969 and Walking In Space was his first album. It's a big band album featuring Freddie Hubbard, J.J. Johnson, Kai Winding, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Hubert Laws, Eric Gale, Ray Brown and Grady Tate. Killer Joe is a jazz standard written by the great sax player Benny Golson. It was released as a single and it was Jones' first chart single. The album sold well especially in the jazz and R & B markets. He recorded three more jazz albums and then with the 1974 album Body Heat, he got more into using guest vocalists on R & B. And by the early 80s, that's what he was famous for. 1974 was when Jones almost died from a brain aneurysm and he had a broader musical view when he recovered from that. This 2007 Verve budget comp covers Jones' jazz from his A & M period in the 70s including Killer Joe. He moved to Warner Bros. in 1981 and his recordings there were more commercial with very little jazz content. Here's Quincy Jones featuring Jerome Richardson on flute, Jerry Hey on trumpet and Pete Christleib on sax performing Killer Joe in Japan 1981.