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Released: Nov. 21, 1989

Rating: 4.018 (average of 8 ratings)

Genre: R&B/ jazz

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. Prologue (20’s Rap) (Quincy’s Rap) [with Big Daddy Kane]
  2. Back on the Block [with Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T, Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, & Tevin Campbell]
  3. I Don’t Go for That [with Siedah Garrett]
  4. I’ll Be Good to You [with Ray Charles & Chaka Khan]
  5. The Verb to Be (Introduction to Wee B. Dooinit)
  6. Wee B. Dooinit (Acapella Party by the Hyman Bean Band) [with Siedah Garrett, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Take 6, & Sarah Vaughan]
  7. The Places You Find Love [with Siedah Garrett & Chaka Khan]
  8. Jazz Corner of the World (Introduction to Birdland) [with Big Daddy Kane & Kool Moe Dee]
  9. Birdland [with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, & George Benson]
  10. Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song) [with Take 6, Sarah Vaughan, George Benson, & Herbie Hancock]
  11. One Man Woman [with Siedah Garrett]
  12. Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me) [with Tevin Campbell]
  13. Prelude to the Garden
  14. The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) [with Al B Sure!, James Ingram, El DeBarge, & Barry White]


sales in U.S. only 1 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 1 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 9
peak on U.K. album chart 26

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • I’ll Be Good to You (11/11/89) #18 US, #21 UK, #1 RB, #30 AC
  • The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite) (2/3/90) #31 US, #67 UK, #1 RB, #26 AC. Sales: ½ million
  • Tomorrow (A Better You, a Better Me) (4/7/90) #75 US, #1 RB
  • I Don’t Go for That (8/25/90) #9a RB
  • The Places You Find Love (12/8/90) #39 RB
  • Wee B. Dooinit (5/11/91) #83 RB


Album of the Year Grammy winner. Click to go to awards page.

Back on the Block
Quincy Jones
“Having let eight years pass since his last A&M album, Quincy Jones made his debut on his own label with his most extravagant, most star-studded, most brilliantly sequenced pop album to date – which could have only been assembled by the man who put together ‘We Are the World.’ Jones was one of the first establishment musicians to embrace rap, and one of the first to link rap with his jazz heritage; it’s hard not to be moved by the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Zawinul, Sarah Vaughan, and George Benson electronically appearing on Birdland and trading brief licks with the likes of Kool Moe Dee and Big Daddy Kane on Jazz Corner of the World. Later, jazz buffs would vilify Jones for not taking fuller advantage of this one-time constellation of jazz stars, but at the time, it seemed like a marvelous dialogue between the old and the new” (Ginell).

“Of course, as he well knew, celebrating jazz history is not the surest route to a blockbuster hit record, so there are plenty of radio-friendly urban pop productions here, with Herbie Hancock and George Duke on keyboards, and Siedah Garrett and 12-year-old Tevin Campbell on vocals. Despite the presence of an enthused Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, and the Brothers Johnson, the overly busy techno remake of I’ll Be Good to You doesn’t cut the Johnsons’ original – nor does Tomorrow” (Ginell).

“Ultimately the most popular track would be the most tedious for the jazz listener, The Secret Garden, with a parade of smooth soul balladeers producing make-out music at length. Yet Back on the Block remains a strikingly durable piece of entertainment, and in hindsight, a poignant signpost of the changing of the guard” (Ginell).

Review Source(s):

Last updated April 15, 2008.