Backbeat: Quincy Jones' Six-Decade Musical Celebration @ The Hollywood Bowl
Backbeat: Quincy Jones' Six-Decade Musical Celebration @ The Hollywood Bowl

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Live at the Hollywood Bowl: Billed as "Quincy Jones featuring the Global Gumbo All-Stars and Friends," the night celebrated the legendary musician and producer's diverse career ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Michael Jackson and points in between. (Photo: Malcolm Ali)

"This is what you get for coming to see an old dude who's got 61 years of music," teased Quincy Jones halfway through a rare, live concert (Sept. 7) at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Billed as "Quincy Jones featuring the Global Gumbo All-Stars and Friends," the occasion celebrating a diverse career ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Michael Jackson and points in between was remarkably the first time the music icon had performed at the venue with a band under his name. And the evening certainly didn't disappoint.

With a Southern California-patented warm summer night adding to the evening's chilled-out ambience, Herbie Hancock introduced the 78-year-old Jones. Then the man himself got the ball rolling as his All-Stars big band, featuring such well-known musicians as bassist Nathan East, percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, sax man Ernie Watts and drummer/producer Gregg Field, re-ignited early Jones recordings "Killer Joe" and "Kingfish." From there, the engaging trip down memory lane traversed a host of milestones in Q's storied career as an artist, musician, producer, arranger and composer for film and TV. Providing accompaniment in the time tunnel: Frank Sinatra Jr. ("Fly Me to the Moon"), James Ingram and Patti Austin ("Baby Come to Me"), The Brothers Johnson ("I'll Be Good to You"), Toto's David Paich, Steve Porcaro and Steve Lukather ("Human Nature") and Siedah Garrett ("Man in the Mirror") in tribute to Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan ("Home" from "The Wiz") and Arturo Sandoval ("Manteca") with actor Andy Garcia playing some mean bongos.

Like a proud papa, Jones ushered several young talents to the Bowl stage as well, including Canadian teen jazz-pop singer Nikki Yanofsky, Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and Rockford, Illinois nine-year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear. Rocking out to the rhythms while conducting the band, Jones also kicked back and watched the show with his self-described "family" of performers courtesy of an onstage living room (two leather couches, accented by low-lit table lamps), positioned to the right of the band. Talk about a party within a party.

After asking the audience to hold hands as he led a group prayer ("stop the dumbing down of culture"; "if you can see it, you can be it"), an emotional Jones declared: "This is one of the highlights of my whole life tonight. I wish we had three more days here."

Among those spotted in the audience during the nearly three-hour concert, which was also recorded (maybe for a possible DVD?): Concord Music exec. VP John Burk, "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" music director Rickey Minor and comedian/actor Sinbad.

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Sister to sister: One of the evening highlights was a rendition of "Ms. Celie's Blues (Sister)," which Quincy Jones co-wrote for the film, "The Color Purple." (from left) Gloria Estefan, Patti Austin, Siedah Garrett, Nikki Yanofsky. (Photo: Malcolm Ali)
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At one point during the show, Jones related that he'd been traveling around the world doing music since he was 18. "All those experiences have taught me to live by love, to laugh and to give." (Photo: Malcolm Ali)
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Siedah Garrett delivered a passionate take on Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," which she co-wrote with Glen Ballard. (Photo: Malcolm Ali)

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