Multi-Grammy Winning Producer Quincy Jones and United Arab Emirates Entrepreneur Badr Jafar Form Joint Venture to Develop Entertainment Opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa
The 'Global Gumbo Group' Will Focus On Producing Music and Collaborative Events With American and European Artists For the Middle East And North Africa and Vice-Versa
LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2011 -- Multi-Grammy winning producer and multi-media entrepreneur Quincy Jonesand United Arab Emirates entrepreneur Badr Jafar have entered into a joint venture, the Global Gumbo Group (www.globalgumbogroup.com), to develop multi-media opportunities across all entertainment platforms including music, film, television, publishing and digital applications, in the Middle East and North Africa, it was announced today. Jones will serve as Chairman of the Board of the new venture and Jafar will serve as President.
Initially focusing on producing live entertainment opportunities in the Middle East for Western artists in collaboration with renowned Middle East and North African artists, the Global Gumbo Group will also look to nurture new Middle Eastern and North African talent, and acquire content from the region to introduce to the West.
Commented Jones, "I have long been a vocal proponent of music and the arts being a great asset in building bridges between cultures, and from my many experiences starting in 1953 touring the Middle East and North Africa with Lionel Hampton and again in 1956 as the musical director and trumpeter for Dizzy Gillespie's first State Department Tour, I have witnessed that ability firsthand. It is my hope that this partnership with my dear friend Badr Jafar will provide a cultural exchange between the West and the Middle East and North Africa that will foster a better understanding of these regions and an appreciation for our common values at this crucial time in the region's history."
Badr Jafar added, "This partnership had been a long time in the making, and is being launched at an important time in our region of the world. I am a great believer in the power associated with the principles of social entrepreneurship, and the Global Gumbo Group's mission is perfectly in line with these, using music and the arts to build on and promote mutual respect and appreciation across borders, while giving our youth in the West and the Middle East an opportunity to showcase their talents in our respective parts of the world, which in-turn will lead to much needed collaboration and cooperation. There is no better person in the world to spearhead this venture than Quincy Jones, and I am truly grateful for his vision and commitment to making this world a better place for our future generations."
The first Global Gumbo Group production, in association with Dawn Elder World Entertainment, will be a concert duringMorocco's annual music festival in May, the Mawazine Festival, which will feature performances by The Global Gumbo All-Stars (Alfredo Rodriguez, Greg Phillinganes, Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke, Francisco Mela and Paulinho Da Costa), Patti Austin,Siedah Garrett, Naturally Seven and Riffat Sultana. Jones will also unveil a new Arabic version of the 1990 #1 song "Tomorrow", originally recorded by Tevin Campbell for Jones' Grammy Award-winning Record of the Year Back On The Block, which will raise money to finance educational scholarships for some of the region's most promising youth. Financed in part by the Maroc Cultures Association, the song and its video will feature some of the biggest Arabic stars from all 21 Middle Eastern Countries. The song will be co-produced by Moroccan-born producer RedOne and the Arabic lyrics and indigenous music contribution will be provided by Iraqi-born composer Kadim Al Sahir, one of the biggest artists in the Middle East today. The music video and behind the scenes documentary will be Produced by Quincy Delight Jones III and Malek Akkad of Trancas International. The song aims to serve as a beacon of solidarity and hope for the region at a crucial time.
A 27-time Grammy Award winner (the most of any living musician) and the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 79 nominations, Quincy Jones' career has spanned six decades and encompassed the roles of composer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, record producer, record executive, film and television producer, magazine founder, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian. Most recently Jones was bestowed the National Medal of Arts, our nation's highest artistic honor, and is a past recipient of the Republic of France's Commander de la Legion d'Honneur and a Kennedy Center Honoree, among many other honors accolades.
As a master inventor of musical hybrids, Quincy Jones has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, gospel, blues, classical, African, Brazilian and Asian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing virtually every medium, including records, live performances, movies, television, broadcasting and magazine publishing.
Named by Time Magazine as one of the six most influential Jazz artists of the 20th Century, Jones won the first of his many Grammy Awards in 1963 for his Count Basie arrangement of "I Can't Stop Loving You." His long musical association as conductor and arranger with Frank Sinatra, which began in the mid-60s, also teamed him with Basie for the classic Sinatra At The Sands, containing the famous arrangement of "Fly Me To The Moon," the first recording played by astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he landed upon the moon's surface in 1969.
Jones was producer and conductor of the historic "We Are The World" recording (the best-selling single of all time), Michael Jackson's multi-platinum solo albums, Off The Wall, Bad and Thriller (the best-selling album of all time), and the multi-Grammy winning Album of the Year Back On The Block.
Concurrent with one of the most successful and celebrated careers in the history of contemporary music, Quincy Jones has found equal success in all areas mediums. Having composed more than 35 major motion scores, Jones broke into feature filmmaking as co-producer of the 1985 motion picture, The Color Purple, nominated for eleven Academy Awards and introducing Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey to the movie world.
As a record company executive, Quincy remained highly active in the recording field throughout the 1990s as the guiding force behind his own Qwest Records, which boasted such important artists as New Order, Tevin Campbell, Ernestine Anderson, Patti Austin, James Ingram, Siedah Garrett, Andre Crouch and Gregory Jefferson, among others.
In 1990, Jones formed Quincy Jones Entertainment (QJE), a co-venture with Time Warner, Inc. The new company, which Quincy served as CEO and chairman, had a broad-ranging, multi-media agenda, which encompassed programming for current and future technologies, including theatrical motion pictures and network, cable and syndicated television.
In January 1992, Jones executive produced the An American Reunion concert at Lincoln Memorial, an all-star concert and celebration that was the first official event of the presidential inaugural celebration and drew widespread acclaim as an HBO telecast.
QJE's first foray into magazine publishing, under the banner of VIBE Ventures, was VIBE, an entertaining chronicle of urban life founded by Quincy Jones. He later added to his empire when his publishing group purchased SPIN Magazine.
In television, Quincy Jones was executive producer of the hit NBC-TV series The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (now in syndication) starring a young Will Smith, UPN's In The House starring LL Cool J, and Fox Television's long-running sketch comedy showMad TV. On March 25, 1996, Quincy Jones executive produced the most watched awards show in the world, the 68th Annual Academy Awards. The show received widespread acclaim as one of the most memorable Academy Award shows in recent years.
In 1994, Quincy Jones led a group of businessmen, including Hall of Fame football player Willie Davis, television producer Don Cornelius, television journalist Geraldo Rivera and businesswoman Sonia Gonsalves Salzman in the formation of Qwest Broadcasting, a minority controlled broadcasting company which purchased television stations in Atlanta and New Orleans for approximately $167 million, establishing it as one of the largest minority owned broadcasting companies in the United States. Quincy served as chairman and CEO of Qwest Broadcasting. In 1999, taking advantage of the rapid escalation of broadcast station values, Jones and his partners sold Qwest Broadcasting for a reported $270 million.
In 1990, Jones' life and career were chronicled in the critically acclaimed Warner Bros. film, Listen Up: The Lives Of Quincy Jones. Produced by Courtney Sale Ross, the film helped illuminate not only Quincy's life and spirit, but also revealed much about the development of the African American musical tradition.
In 2001, Quincy Jones added the title "Best Selling Author" to his list of accomplishments when his autobiography "Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones" entered the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers lists. Released by Doubleday Publishing, the critically acclaimed biography retells Jones' life story from his days as an impoverished youth on the Southside of Chicago through a massively impressive career in music, film and television where he worked beside legends such as Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson, among many others. In conjunction with the autobiography, Rhino Records released a 4-CD boxed set of Jones' music, spanning his more than 5 decade career in the music business, entitled "Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones."
The audio recording of "Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones," (Simon & Schuster) earned Jones his 27th Grammy Award, in the Best Spoken Word Category, while "Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones" garnered him a 15th NAACP Image Award, in the category of Outstanding Jazz Artist.
In 2008 The Complete Quincy Jones: My Journey & Passions, (Palace Press) examined the virtuosity of the man Frank Sinatranamed "Q," celebrating his prolific contribution to American art and culture. The book included a foreword by Clint Eastwood, preface from Bono, an introduction by Maya Angelou and an afterword by Sidney Poitier. Comprised of personal interviews and recollections from Jones, this collection peers behind the veil of celebrity, with extraordinary access to his creative inspirations and achievements.
Jones' current projects include the recently released Q: Soul Bossa Nostra, an album featuring some of today's biggest recording artists and producers such as Usher, Ludacris, Akon, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, T-Pain, Robin Thicke, LL Cool J, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Wyclef Jean, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Three 6 Mafia, David Banner, Bebe Winans,Mervyn Warren, Jermaine Dupri, DJ Paul, and Scott Storch, among others, who have joined together to celebrate the music of the multi-Grammy winning producer, composer and arranger by recording contemporary versions of popular recordings from his massive catalog; the book "Q on Producing" which recounts his six-decade long career working in the recording studio with music icons such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson, among many others; a duets album with Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett; as well as multiple projects for film and television. Today, Quincy Jonesstands as one of the most successful and admired creative artist/executives in the entertainment world.
Badr Jafar is a United Arab Emirates business leader and social entrepreneur. Educated in the UAE and United Kingdom, he is one of the owners and the Executive Director of the Crescent Petroleum Group of Companies, and founder-CEO of Crescent Investments, the conglomerate's non-petroleum division. He is also the founder and the Chairperson of Gas Cities – a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas; and Chairperson of Pearl Petroleum – a joint venture between Crescent Petroleum, Dana Gas, OMV of Austria, and the MOL Group of Hungary.
Additionally, Jafar has a variety of international and commercial interests, including aviation, serving as a board member of Gama Aviation (UK); shipping, serving as Vice-Chairman of the board for Gulftainer Ports and Logistics (the Middle-East's largest private container port operator); and real estate, serving as a board member of Enshaa PSC (UAE). He also plays an active role in private equity initiatives, serving as a board member of GrowthGate Capital (Bahrain). He is also the founder of Collo Ltd (UK) and Persicus Inc (USA), which specialize in the manufacturing and marketing of high-end consumer products worldwide, and of Omniway Properties Ltd (UK), which targets European property development.
Jafar is a recipient of the Young CEO award in 2009 and the Middle East's Energy CEO of the year award in 2010, and in 2011 was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is an active member of the Young Presidents' Organization, serving as board member for the YPO Emirates Chapter. In September 2010, Jafar launched the Pearl Initiative at the United Nations headquarters in New York, an initiative in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships to jointly promote corporate governance, accountability, transparency, and good corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices within the Middle East.
Jafar is a member of the Synergos Arab World Social Innovators (AWSI) Program Board of Governors. He is also a member of the Business Advisory Council of the American University of Sharjah, as well as Chair of the Alumni Advisory Council of theCambridge University Judge Business School and a board member of their International Advisory Board.
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March 7, 2011 1:04pm ET by Pressparty