Considered a young prodigy way before this 1960 performance in Paris, Quincy Jones had, by the age of twenty-seven, already left two music scholarships (one at Berklee College of Music) to join Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie's Big Bands and been commissioned to write and arrange for the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Sonny Stitt, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.
With the jazz world already at his beck and call, he decided to broaden his horizons by studying under the "greatest music teacher of all time," Nadia Boulanger, in Paris in 1957. In France Quincy could write for strings, something he was forbidden to do as an African-American artist back home and this began this career as a band leader in his own right. Here, we see his big band in the middle of a tour where their production went bankrupt and they played shows with no money and debts piling up fast.
Part two of the concert sees the group continue to reel off classics with swing, character and unstoppable musicianship. Of particular note are the performances given by Clark Terry and Budd Johnson, who swap solos and command remarkable stage presence. "I Remember Clifford" marks a great moment, written in tribute to the one-and-only Clifford Brown.