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Quincy Jones' long and restless song

Quincy Jones' long and restless songthe writes,

It had been a long night — a concert, a reunion with an old friend, a midnight meal — but as the clock ticked past 2 a.m. Quincy Jones sat in a rare state of silence in his estate at the very top of Bel-Air. The man they call Q nodded at the cellphone sitting on the kitchen counter.

"I've deleted 188 names this year — all the people who died, all these friends of mine," Jones said. "That's what happens when you're 77, man. That's life, man. You start out playing in bands and doing duets and then you worry that in the end it's all going to be a solo."

Most of those peers are gone now, but Jones remains a man in relentless motion. He has a new tribute album, a recently published book and a schedule dense with award shows, fundraisers and jet-set parties. Still, he feels the weight of the years and he also thinks quite a bit about legacy maintenance.

"We all wonder how we will be remembered," says Jones, who rarely gets through any conversation without mentioning the famous friends and sparkling moments of the past. His friendship with the late Charles, especially, tugs at his memory, but instead of maudlin repetition a conversation with Jones is like talking to a jukebox loaded with platinum singles. He's just playing the old hits so new generations can learn the beat.

"You can't know the present or the future without knowing the past, and for young black Americans especially, it's a sin to forget where we've been and what we've done in music," Jones said. "The history is who we are. Without it we're in trouble. We need to teach music history the same way we teach science history."

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