Personnel includes: Quincy Jones (vocals, arranger, trumpet); George Johnson (vocals, guitar); Minnie Ripperton, Leon Ware, Al Jarreau, Benard Ighner, Bruce Fisher, James Ingram, Chaka Khan, Paulette McWilliams, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson, Dune, Charles May, Siedah Garrett, Patti Austin, Ray Charles, El DeBarge, Barry White, Al B. Sure, Tevin Campbell, Tamia (vocals); Dennis Coffey, Phil Upchurch, Eric Gale, Melvin "Wah Wah Watson" Ragin (guitar); Harold Vick, George Young (saxophone); Jon Faddis, Virgil Jones (trumpet); Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Billy Preston (piano, elctric piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Louis Johnson (bass); Harvey Mason (drums); Paulinho Da Costa (percussion); Luther Vandross (background vocals).
Producers include: Quincy Jones, Ray Brown, Rod Temperton, Jerry Hey, Rory Bennett.
Compilation producers: Dana G. Smart, Pat Lawrence.
Recorded between 1974 and 1999. Includes liner notes by A. Scott Galloway.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Quincy Jones (trumpet, keyboards, background vocals); George Johnson (vocals, guitar, background vocals); Jesse Kirkland, James Ingram , Jim Gilstrap, Joe Greene, Al B. Sure!, Leon Ware, Patti Austin, Paulette McWilliams (vocals, background vocals); Al Jarreau, Minnie Riperton, Nick Ashford, Tamia , Tevin Campbell, Valerie Simpson, Barry White, Benard Ighner, Ray Charles, Bruce Fisher, Chaka Khan, Charles May (vocals); David T. Walker, Dennis Coffey, Eric Gale , Melvin "Wah Wah" Ragin, Paul Jackson, Jr. , Phil Upchurch, Arthur Adams , Steve Lukather (guitar); Hubert Laws, Jerome Richardson (flute, reeds, saxophone); Ernie Watts (flute, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Kim Hutchcroft, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank (flute, saxophone); Pete Christlieb (saxophone, tenor saxophone); David Tofani, Ernie Krivda, Fred Jackson , George Young , Gerald Albright, Harold Vick, Howard Johnson , Jack Nimitz, Jeff Clayton , Kirk Whalum, Sahib Shihab, Tom Scott (saxophone); Clifford Solomon (tenor saxophone); Chuck Findley (trumpet, trombone); Tom Bahler (trumpet, background vocals); Gary Grant, Bill Lamb, Jerry Hey, Jon Faddis, Oscar Brashear, Ray Brown , Snooky Young, Virgil Jones (trumpet); Arthur Maebe, David Duke , Aubrey Bouck (French horn); George Bohannon, Frank Rosolino, Reggie C. Young , Donald Waldrup, Jimmy Cleveland, Robert Payne, Bill Watrous, Charles Loper, Chauncey Welsch, William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. (trombone); Alan Raph (bass trombone); Roger Bobo, Tommy Johnson (tuba); Herbie Hancock (piano, electric piano, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Greg Phillinganes (piano, electric piano, Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer, hand claps); Richard Tee (piano, electric piano, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Dave Grusin, Mike Melvoin, Billy Preston, Bob James (piano, electric piano, keyboards, synthesizer); David Foster (piano, electric piano, synthesizer); Robbie Buchanan (piano, string synthesizer); David "Hawk" Wolinski (Clavinet, bass synthesizer); David Paich, Ian Prince, Jerry Peters, Randy Kerber (keyboards); Michael Boddicker (synthesizer, vocoder); Ian Underwood (synthesizer, programming); Erik Hanson, Rory Bennett (synthesizer, drum programming); Aaron Zigman, Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder (synthesizer); Bruce Swedien (drums, snare drum); John "J.R." Robinson (drums, hand claps); Grady Tate, Harvey Mason, Sr. , James Gadson, Paul Humphrey , Steve Gadd , Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums); Ralph MacDonald (congas, percussion); Louis Johnson (hand claps, background vocals); Ollie E. Brown, Paulinho Da Costa, Bobbye Hall (percussion); QDIII (drum programming); Carolyn Willis, El DeBarge, Eric Dawkins, Charity Young, Alex Harris, McKinley Brown, Shane Shoaf, Jania Foxworth, Chad Durio, Donovan McCrary, Tyren Perry, James DeBarge, Alex Brown, Siedah Garrett, Syreeta Wright , Tiffany Johnson, Yvonne Lewis, Myrna Matthews, Bridgette Bryant (background vocals).
Directors: Rose Banks; Siedah Garrett.
Photographer: Carol Friedman.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Gwen Guthrie; Yolanda McCullough; Lani Groves; Luther Vandross; Zachary Sanders; Bill Eaton; Vivian Cherry; Frank Floyd.
Arrangers: David Blumberg; John Clayton; Paul Riser; Quincy Jones; Tom Bahler.
In 1974, Quincy Jones, who already had a wide range of musical credits behind him, opted to enter the R&B mainstream by hiring vocalists and overseeing recordings in a commercial vein released under his name. The first of them was Body Heat, which went gold, and Jones followed with a series of records including 1981's million-selling The Dude and the 1990 Album of the Year Grammy-winner Back on the Block. Meanwhile, he switched record labels, leaving A&M for his own Warner-distributed Qwest in the early '80s. That has tended to make the assembly of a comprehensive best-of difficult, but Universal's Hip-O reissue division specializes in licensing material from other labels to construct its Ultimate Collection releases, and this one borrows seven out of 18 tracks from Qwest to add to Jones' A&M hits, making it the definitive one-disc compilation of Jones' pop/R&B recordings of 1974-1999. Jones himself participated in the selection, which does not strictly follow chart rankings, since a couple of R&B Top 20 hits ("I Don't Go for That" and "Slow Jams") are missing, while a few non-chart items are included. To get more songs in, the singles edits have been used in many cases. But all the major hits are here. The chronological sequencing allows an appreciation of how Jones' approach changed over the years. The '70s stuff, which holds up surprisingly well, is tasty R&B, much of it groove-oriented, up-tempo music. By the late '80s, however, there are a lot of big, bland ballads that showcase superstar vocalists (Ray Charles, Barry White, etc.) and sound self-important. Like his prot?g?, Michael Jackson, who went from the rocking "Billie Jean" to the messianic "Man in the Mirror" in the same period, Jones seems to have begun believing his press clippings, and his work suffered accordingly. ~ William Ruhlmann