Montreux lets the Good Times Roll with Quincy Jones

Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:42am EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - Quincy Jones, the trailblazing Grammy Award-winning producer and composer, was feted for his music and humanity at a 75th birthday party which brought Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, Mick Hucknall and more to Montreux's fabled stage.

Veterans Al Jarreau, Nana Mouskouri and Petula Clark as well as emerging stars Ledisi, Angelique Kidjo and Paulo Nutini took turns singing hits which he made over the decades.

His Grammy-winning goddaughter Austin introduced her coy rendition of "Makin' Whoopee" by telling Jones, a thrice-married father of seven in the front row: "You know a lot about this." She later teamed up with Chaka Khan for a moving duo of "Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)," from the film The Color Purple.

"Mood for Love" by James Moody, "Let the Good Times Roll" by Rahsaan Patterson, "In the Heat of the Night" by Simply Red singer Hucknall and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" by Mouskouri were among highlights before all joined in a "Ai No Corrida" finale.

"No words can describe the emotions I feel -- all these talented, loyal, giving people," Jones told a sell-out crowd at Stravinski Auditorium in the Swiss town along Lake Geneva.

The nearly six-hour concert ended at two in the morning on Tuesday with dozens of performers singing "Happy Birthday" to the legend known as "Q" who admitted to health problems.

"I've had two aneurisms, but I'm glad God wasn't ready to take me. I stopped drinking six months ago or I would never have survived this," said the African-American who was born in Chicago on March 14, 1933.

The gala celebration, assembled by Montreux founder Claude Nobs and featuring the Swiss army big band, was billed as the main event of the two-week summer jazz festival, one of Europe's most prestigious.   Continued...

<p>U.S. music producer Quincy Jones blows the candles of his birthday cake during a party after the Quincy Jones 75th Anniversary celebration gig at the 42nd Montreux Jazz Festival early July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse</p>