We're doing ten movies, six albums, four Broadway shows, two networks, business with the president of China, intellectual property. And the curiosity's at an all-time high.""Yeah, but I came up with Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, man. When we meet, celebrity sexual harassers are falling like dominoes.
When Jones says that he "lost 66 friends last year" and begins to list recent departures—"David Bowie, George Martin…"—it's more than an acknowledgment of some recent rough years. “Let me show you that big one, because you can’t notice the nasty on this right away. Crazy motherfucker, but he was a talented man.” Another, smaller painting is one of Jones’s bathrooms. That's what you wanted to do so you could protect yourself. "And they stuck an ice pick"—he points to his left temple—"in here, the same time." Fucking right it did! That's why the second one had blue eyes." Or the occasion in May 2007, when Oprah brought Barack and Michelle Obama 'round to this house in an attempt, unsuccessful at the time, to woo Jones away from his friends the Clintons. "And we sat down in the kitchen, and for six hours…a really heavy meeting." (12) As another aside, he'll let slip that he saw Stevie Wonder last night: "Stevie and I are doing a lot of shit together." Or he'll say, pretty much apropos of nothing at all, "You run into amazing people—I'm thinking back to Norman Mailer, man. Then he'll gesture to the Space X model rocket across the room, over toward the library. "Bezos—the richest motherfucker in the world now."He pulls out a book published a few years ago filled with photos and memories from his life, and he tells me about the time Bono invited him to come along to the Vatican in 1999 to meet Pope John Paul.
(1) But these seem almost trivial and incidental alongside the actual life he's lived. Jones also has several of Davis’s libidinous paintings in his house. Like, what's the most prominent instrument in the symphony orchestra? Harlem and Compton don't mean shit after Chicago in the '30s—they look like Boys Town to me. There's something in the water, man.""Hell yeah. Because it was frightening, and every day you never knew what was happening. Big gangs on every street.""Oh, they grabbed me, and they took a switchblade knife and nailed my hand to the fence right there." He points to a scar he's had on his hand for 77 years. T.: "They made that little monster, and he looked too much like a brother. " And smiles at memories that the rest of us can and should never know. Jeffrey Bezos." Jones makes a kind of exhalation noise.
The first of these took place when he was 14 years old. He says that his teacher eventually told him, "I don't need another maniac out there," and gave Jones his money back.
The family had moved to Washington State four years earlier, and this change was the making of him: He discovered music, and he threw himself into learning it. Every day."But he now had music to show him a path forward, a way out. As Jones talks, a woman brings some food and puts it on the table.
And so for a while they were shipped out of Chicago and lived with their grandmother in a shotgun shack in Louisville. And red beans and rice." and said, ' Richard, I don't understand why you've got a Negro doing the music for a film with no people of color in it.' And Richard Brooks said, ' Fuck you, he's doing the music.' Richard was tough.""You know, because it's somebody you admire, and you see that they got this little old ragged-ass convention of racism going. At 18, he was ready—or as ready as one could be: "The band bus with Lionel Hampton got 33 people on it. Every time we'd go to Detroit, at the Majestic hotel, standing in front, with his Italian shit on and amber glasses: Malcolm X. Charlie Parker, everybody there, was married to a white wife.""Yeah! Do what you want to do, and nobody can tell you what to do.