When the Space Shuttle Atlantis launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Thursday, December 6th on its mission to deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory to the International Space Station, Astronaut Leland Melvin will have in tow a copy of Quincy Jones' 1969 Grammy Award winning recording "Walking in Space," which he will use as his wake-up music during the mission. "Quincy Jones is someone who I have a great deal of respect and admiration for and I couldn't think of a more appropriate selection to use as my wake-up music," says Melvin. "I am truly honored that Mr. Melvin has chosen one of my pieces of work for this momentous occasion," replied Jones. "I was inspired to record the 'Walking in Space' album in 1969 after Buzz Aldrin told me that he had played my arrangement of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon' during his space flight to the moon, so to have it come full circle like this is quite remarkable and very humbling." A jazz-R&B-pop fusion album that helped usher in a new era in R&B music in the early 70's, "Walking in Space" won Jones a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance By a Large Group. Citing his groundbreaking work on "Walking in Space," in 1998 Time Magazine named Quincy Jones one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th Century. In January, Jones will receive the nation's highest jazz honor when he is recognized as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Quincy Jones has rejected the opportunity to work with Michael Jackson again, but says he has been in contact with the pop star. Jones, who produced Jackson's 1982 album Thriller, the best-selling LP of all time, said he has too much on his plate. He told NME.com: "Man please, I've got enough to do. We already did that. I have talked to him about working with him again but I've got too much to do. I've got 900 products, I'm 74 years old. Give me a break." Jones has worked with the who's who of music legends including Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson. Now he has revealed new plans that'll see him work with Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee to create music for the Beijing Olympics. He's also working on a 3D film about Brazil with Brett Ratner. But that's not to say he doesn't want to work with musicians. When asked who he'd like to work with, he said: "Jamie Cullum. I love Jamie, I really do."
Music impresario Quincy Jones will receive the Celebration of Service to America Leadership Award from the National Assn. of Broadcasters in a ceremony slated for June. Nod, presented by the NAB's Education Foundation, singles out an individual "who has performed extraordinary public service in bettering the lives of others," according to the org. Jones will be honored for his longtime commitment to helping underprivileged youth through his Listen Up Foundation and We Are the Future Foundation. The NAB is also recognizing him for his work in preserving and promoting African-American art. "For decades, Quincy Jones has served as a tireless advocate on behalf of underprivileged children throughout the world," NAB prexy-chief David K. Rehr said in a statement. "The NAB Education Foundation is proud to honor him for his unwavering dedication to building a pathway toward a better future for all children in need."
Quincy Jones has been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as a recipient of the 2008 NEA Jazz Masters Award, according to a press release. The award is the nation's highest honor in the jazz genre. Jones was honored as a renaissance man of music who is an impresario, conductor, record producer, musical arranger, film composer and trumpeter, according to a statement. The recipients will receive a $25,000 fellowship, will appear in an award ceremony and concert Jan. 18, and have the opportunity to participate in other NEA-sponsored promotional and performance activities. The recipients will receive their award plaques at the NEA Jazz Masters Awards concert in January at the annual International Association for Jazz Education conference in Toronto. Each year since 1982, the Arts Endowment has conferred the NEA Jazz Masters Award on a handful of living legends who have made major contribution to the genre. Previous musicians bestowed the honor include Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Herbie Hancock.
Quincy Jones has finally stepped away from Vibe. The music legend, who hatched the pioneering urban culture magazine in 1993 with Robert Miller and partners, have joined his investment group in selling Vibe to the Wicks Group. Current Vibe editor Mimi Valdes is being replaced by former Vibe editor Danyel Smith, who happens to be married to Elliott Wilson, editor of rival urban magazine XXL. New Vibe CEO Eric Gertler tells the New York Daily News: "Danyel is a complete professional. It will provide for some competitive fodder, but so long as Vibe always gets the scoop, I'm happy." Less happy is Valdes and her high-profile supporters in the hip-hop community who think she got shafted. Says Gertler: "This isn't meant to take anything away from Mimi. We just thought Danyel understands our vision."