Quincy Jones on playing with Lionel Hampton

Now, A Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Lady Be Good," CD: Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra 1951-53, Classics France (cut 3)

At age 15, NEA Jazz Master Quincy Jones almost got his first big break. Almost. Legendary bandleader Lionel Hampton, who knew Jones was a trumpeter and had heard some music he'd written, invited him to go on the road with the band. The bus was just about to take off when Mrs. Hampton stepped in.

Quincy Jones: I got on the band bus right away. And Gladys got on and said, "Hamp, what's that child doing on the bus?" (laughs) And I was so upset. And she said, "Get him off here. Make him go back to school. We'll call him later when he gets his schooling." Three or four years later Hamp called me and said, "Let's go." And I said, "I'm ready. I'm ready to go."

MUSIC: punctuation

Quincy Jones: At that time Lionel Hampton was the biggest band -- he was bigger than Louie Armstrong, Ellington, or Count Basie. Hamp's band worked 325 days a year, and I was very lucky to be in that band -- all these great musicians like Art Farmer, Gigi Gryce, Jimmy Cleveland, Jerome Richardson, Bobby Plater. And I practiced before every session. It was like going to school.

MUSIC: up and fades

This Jazz Moment with trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and producer Quincy Jones was created by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Quincy Jones on playing with Lionel Hampton