Quincy Jones Special Feature: Still Nurturing Talent

Six Acts To Watch On Jones' Own Roster

Throughout a six-decade career, Quincy Jones has worked with some of the most influential artists in history, from Ray Charles and Miles Davis to Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.

While continuing in that role, Jones plans to launch a new management and consulting business with a focus on artist development, touring and promotion, and he's also serving as executive producer and/or producer on these artists' projects.

1. Nikki Yanofsky

nikkiyanofsky.com

@NikkiYanofsky

This 19-year-old Canadian jazz-pop singer has already had success both in her homeland and the United States. Her 2010 Decca Records release "Nikki" topped the Canadian jazz chart and Billboard's Heatseekers chart, and racked up gold certifications in Canada, France and Japan. That same year, her single "I Believe" served as the official theme of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where she performed at the closing ceremony. Other high-profile gigs include the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival as part of Jones' Global Gumbo All-Stars and a Jones-hosted tribute concert to Carole King in late 2012. With Yanofsky's roots firmly planted in classic jazz, but with a contemporary sensibility, Jones says, "Nikki is from heaven and gives me hope for the future of music." Yanofsky has a new single due in April with an album to follow this summer.

 

2. Blush

blushband.com

@blushgroup

The group featuring five girls from five different Asian countries has already had chart success in the United States. Its single "Undivided," featuring Snoop Dogg, on FarWest Entertainment, reached No. 3 on the Dance/Club Play chart in September 2011, while its second effort, "Dance On," hit the summit on the same chart in February 2012. On the touring front, Blush has scored opening spots for Justin Bieber, the Black Eyed Peas, Far*East Movement, Diana Ross and others. The act's new single and video, "Warrior," arrived on Valentine's Day. "These girls are the next big thing. They are hitmakers. They've got it," Jones says of the group, which accompanied him to the Grammys.

 

3. Alfredo Rodriguez

alfredomusic.com

@alfredomusic

This Cuban pianist caught Jones' ear at the 2006 Montreux Jazz Festival, and Jones went on to co-produce Rodriguez's 2012 Mack Avenue debut, "Sounds of Space." Jones calls him "one of the most prolific and gifted jazz pianists of the 21st century. He is very special, and I do not say that easily because I have been surrounded by the best musicians in the world my entire life. And he is one of the best." Rodriguez is working on his second album for Mack Avenue in conjunction with Qwest Records, and he's touring in Europe, Canada, Asia and North America this year.

 

4. Emily Bear

emilybear.com

@EmilyBearMusic

An 11-year-old jazz and classical pianist and composer, Bear's performance at the recent Producers & Engineers Wing Grammy Week Celebration honoring Jones and Al Schmitt stunned attendees, including George Benson. She's appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" six times, was recently featured on "Katie" and a video from when she was just 6 has nearly 24 million YouTube views. Jones is producing her debut for Concord/Qwest Records, due May 7.

 

5. Justin Kauflin

justinkauflin.com

@JustinKauflin

A recipient of the 2012 International Young Soloist Award, Kauflin lost his sight at age 11, but that hasn't stopped him from becoming one of the country's top young jazz pianists. He's featured in the documentary "Keep On Keepin' On" with Jones' mentor, the legendary Clark Terry. "He's a monster on the piano. And he's one of the greatest people I've met," Terry says.

 

6Andreas Varady

andreasvarady.com

@AndreasVarady

This 15-year-old Slovakian jazz guitarist counts Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery and George Benson among his influences. His 2010 album "Questions" was a collaboration with producer/drummer David Lyttle. In 2012, he played with Jones' Global Gumbo All-Stars at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He's currently touring and working on his second album for release this year.