We can probably blame the success of the Austin Powers movies for the existence of this CD. The first Austin Powers movie featured Jones’ “Soul Bossa Nova” in a hilarious scene parodying all of the things that were arch and ridiculous about the music and the culture of the ‘60s. Apparently no one at Hip-O realized that Michael Myers used Jones’ tune (first released on a Jones solo album in 1962 and then used in the 1964 film The Pawnbroker) as a perfect example of the phony, over-produced elevator music that passed for hip sounds in trendy films of the decade. The scene featuring “Soul Bossa Nova” in Austin Powers: Man of Mystery is hilarious precisely because the music is so dated and simply awful.
The vast majority of tracks on The Reel Quincy Jones fall in the same category. Instrumental cuts from In the Heat of the Night, The Anderson Tapes and They Call Me Mr. Tibbs all feature easy listening jazz with slick ‘60s arrangements and production. The worst track on the CD is unarguably Jones production of a finger-snapping hippie update of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” for the seminal ‘60s sex comedy Bob, Carol, Ted & Alice. The use of the chorus in connection with the sexual awakening of the characters in B,C,T&A was mildly amusing 30 years ago. Today it doesn’t seem very funny (if you remember the joke, which most people won’t) and it certainly isn’t very interesting musically.
The only redeeming tracks on the CD are a blistering barrelhouse jazz rendition of “The Dirty Dozens” taken from The Color Purple and the instantly recognizable theme from Sanford and Son. Other than that you are better served by sticking to Jones’ pop/R&B solo albums or better yet by searching out some of his early jazz work with Count Basie. That music may sound a little dated to some, but it will be around long after this movie schmaltz has been forgotten.