Quincy Jones: 20 Great Productions

From "It's My Party" to 'Thriller' and beyond, we survey an iconic career

Ray Charles, "The Ray" (1957)

It's surprising that Jones didn't wind up working more closely with Ray Charles. The two met while teenagers in Seattle, forging a lifelong friendship. "Quincy had a loving style about him. He was genuine," Charles recalled in Jones' autobiography Q. "We hit it off right away." One of the few recordings on which the two worked together was the 1957 album The Great Ray Charles. For this, their first team-up, Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler handled the production – but Jones did some arranging and composed the record's opening track. "The Ray" is a deep, swinging instrumental that showcased Charles' jazzy side, thanks in part to contributions by saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman and bassist Oscar Pettiford. Knowing Jones' great affection for the Genius, "The Ray" might as well be Charles's unofficial theme song.