“This is from Bono,” Quincy Jones said, tapping the gold-and-diamond “Q” he wore around his neck. “I stayed at his castle.”
Hoo-boy. We were breathing some rarefied air at the Chihuly Boathouse, where Jones visited with Dale and Leslie Chihuly before heading downstairs to a crowded reception put on by the Seattle International Film Festival last Wednesday night.
SIFF was honoring Jones with its Lifetime Achievement Award and screening “Keep On Keepin’ On,” a documentary that Jones helped produce.
The party started at 5, but the music legend was in no hurry. He counted Dale Chihuly’s wall of accordions (17? 18?) and walked out on the deck with Leslie Chihuly to take in the view of Lake Union, all the while sipping from a glass of his favorite wine — a 2010 Camille Giroud Corton-Charlemagne, at $165 a bottle — which the Chihulys were sure to have on ice.
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Although, Jones wasn’t sure it was such a good idea.
“I lost 45 pounds,” he said. “I really can’t drink anymore.”
Downstairs, partygoers took everything in. The books in the bathroom. The heated, Chihuly-glass-decorated pool.
Patti Payneof the Puget Sound Business Journal had visited with Jones earlier to talk about his late brother, Lloyd, who worked with her at KOMO-TV and who died in 1998.
“We were all crying,” Payne said.
Restaurateur and producer Michelle Quisenberrycame in with Jill Mazursky, daughter of director and actor Paul Mazursky and one of the producers of “Keep On Keepin’ On.” (The elder Mazursky’s health is failing, she said, but he is “still hilarious.”)
“It’s really special,” Mazursky said of the documentary, which centers on one of Jones’ early music teachers, Clark Terry, mentoring a blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin, who was at the party with his dog, Candy.
Mazursky is also a screenwriter, and a bit of a literary agent. She got Nick Nolteto write his memoir.
A memoir. Huh. Does he remember anything?
“Nick is a genius,” Mazursky said. “He’s a quality person. He’s not going to put something out just to make money.”
Harper Collins will release the book in early 2015, Mazursky said. They hope.
“We’re still waiting for it.”
Jones came downstairs and smartly ducked into the bathroom before heading into the reception. At one point, five people were waiting outside the door for him to emerge. That’s star power.
He wasn’t 6 feet into the reception before people started to gather around him.
Sharon Connerwas one of the first to approach Jones with a story about Mayrand Drugs, the store her pharmacist father, Darrel Goldfine, used to own at 23rd and East Union. Jones’ father used to come in every Wednesday to buy a copy of DownBeat Magazine — “Because my son is in it!” Conner recalled.
On his way to the 88-foot wooden table (made from a single plank of Douglas fir), Jones did a little dance to Jazzanova’s “Let Me Show Ya,” being spun by DJ Jason Justice.
“I’ve been stressing about it for weeks,” Justice said of playing at a party where Jones was the guest of honor. “I’m trying to pay tribute to the past, present and future that he’s been a part of. ‘Body Heat.’ ‘Off the Wall.’ ‘Gula Matari.’ Then some Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction, you know, because he’s from Seattle.”
All vinyl, by the way.
Later on, Jones would give Justice a fist bump.
“It was …,” Justice began, searching for just the right word. “Cool. A little connection we had.”
Said Justice’s wife, City Arts editor Leah Baltus, “Mission accomplished.”
Nearby, SIFF artistic director Carl Spence shared some of his personal highlights from the festival.
Clark Gregg, who came to SIFF last year as part of the cast of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” was back this year with his new film, “Trust Me.”
Gregg asked Spence to take him to Shiro’s in Belltown for sushi, but the line was around the block. So they went to Tavolàta and hit Shiro’s the next day.
Spence got to introduce Caroll Spinney, 80 years old and the last of the original Sesame Street puppeteers, who accompanied his movie “I Am Big Bird” to SIFF — and brought Oscar The Grouch (whom he also plays) onto the stage of the Harvard Exit.
Spence also talked with Richard Rush, now 85, the director of the 1980 classic “The Stunt Man,” who was here for an archival presentation of the film. (“The man’s Hollywood royalty.”)
And then there was “the secret special event,” Spence said — a film that the director screened for some SIFF insiders, against the producer’s wishes.
“I can’t tell you,” he said.
We watched as people fawned and feigned familiarity with Jones. One woman pulled at his scarf while he spoke with another woman leaning in on the other side.
“This is cute!” she cooed. He ignored her.
Others stood watching Jones as if he were a dish being prepared, waiting for a bite of his time.
Jones took a final sip from his flute and stood to leave, flanked at the front and back.
Outside, a small crowd was waiting for their cars when Jones walked out and climbed into the back seat of a purring SUV.
Before the darkened windows rolled up, Oneda Harris and Jeff Slade looked over and smiled. They had come to the reception to see Jones, but never got a chance to speak with him.
“It’s good to just see him,” said Slade.
“Just a fabulous body of work,” said Harris.
Her favorite Quincy Jones composition?
“The theme from ‘Ironside,’ ” she said with a laugh. “I know. I shouldn’t say that.”
Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.