When you’re discussing Quincy Jones, there is no such thing as hyperbole. Just ask his 27 Grammys. The 81-year-old has played a vital role in the development of jazz, funk, and hip hop, holds more records than a jukebox, logged more firsts than Adam and Eve, and collaborated with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Grandmaster Melle Mel. It is no exaggeration to say he’s the chief architect of popular music in the 20th Century. But as we venture further into the new millennium, he’s getting pissed.
The cultural titan recently appeared in the The Distortion Of Sound, a documentary produced by cutting edge audio outfit Harman Kardon. The fascinating film explores the complex pros and cons of music in the digital age. Although companies like iTunes and Spotify have made music more accessible, portable, and cheaper than ever before, mp3s have become so compressed that the vast majority of the sound quality -sometimes up to 90 percent- is lost. With the omnipresence of iPods and ear buds, the documentary contends that a generation of music lovers are being raised on low-grade sonic sludge. As the final piece of his formidable legacy, Jones is working with Harman to ensure that his art, and the art of so many others, can be enjoyed the way it was meant to be heard.