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Qwest TV Releases Rare Concert Videos Documenting American Jazz's French History

Heralded by The New Yorker as 'perhaps the most significant treasure chest of archival jazz concerts to emerge in years.'

Qwest TV Releases Rare Concert Videos Documenting American Jazz's French History

Today Quincy Jones' Qwest TV released some extraordinary rare films of American jazz greats sourced from the vaults at France's Audiovisual Institute (INA).

Heralded by The New Yorker as "perhaps the most significant treasure chest of archival jazz concerts to emerge in years," these French performances add nuance and excitement to a deeply American story, revealing the bright creativity of a generation of musicians despite the shadow of hatred and racism.

Here's the back story: Constrained by racism and access to the orchestral arrangement instruction, a young Quincy Jones moved to France in 1957, as many Black artists such as Bud Powell and Kenny Clarke did before the Civil Rights Era. France offered a more welcoming and open-minded environment where classical strings were not reserved for white composers. That's how Mr. Jones became a classically trained jazz composer, studying with renowned French composition teacher Nadia Boulanger, and embarked on what became a legendary career.

Jones remembers the US back then: "At that time, all of the black bands had white drivers go into restaurants to get the food, to then bring it back to the band." Back in the 1950s, the "easiest way to starve in America was to be a black arranger writing for strings ... you could be Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven all rolled into one, but if you were black, your ass went to the blues and jazz department of every record company."

Today, his latest venture as co-founder of premium music video digital HUB Qwest TV honors France's pivotal role in shaping, celebrating, and preserving American music by bringing archival concert footage to viewers everywhere. From the famous Antibes and Cannes Jazz Festivals to intimate footage filmed at the Club Saint-Germain and the Blue Note club in Paris, these videos feature the greatest jazz artists at their height, playing for adoring audiences who brought out the best in them.

To be released exclusively by Qwest TV, these 66 videos document the decades that saw Quincy Jones' career begin next to his best friend Ray Charles and flourish. He worked together or shared memories with almost all of these jazz and soul icons, from Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald to Aretha Franklin. As accompaniments to these videos, Qwest TV curators have included personal anecdotes from Quincy Jones himself, illuminating moments like when Dizzy Gillespie took a very young Quincy Jones under his wing, what he felt when he first heard Ella Fitzgerald sing, his time spent with Aretha Franklin in the studio and kitchen, and when he met Miles Davis at the Downbeat Club in NY at the age of 18.

See the full list of offerings here.



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