Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson represent shifting tides in American popular music.
The pop superstars from different generations and musical styles shared a guiding presence who understood the underlying dynamics of the country's mainstream audience: Quincy Jones.
Jones' career as musician, composer, arranger, producer and unerring hit maker is celebrated in the Netflix documentary "Quincy," directed and written by his daughter, Rashida Jones, whose mother was Peggy Lipton, known for playing Julie Barnes on "The Mod Squad."
An adoring companion to her father, Rashida, an accomplished actress and film-maker, adds dramatic resonance to the film.
Amazingly, Jones also discovered Lesley Gore, whose teenage pop confections "It's My Party" and "It's Judy's Turn to Cry" were derided as showing rock's decline in the early 1960s when Elvis joined the Army and before the British invasion. Now, the songs are considered classics.
The documentary traces Jones' rise from Chicago's impoverished and violent Chicago South Side to powerful musical mogul.
His obsessive devotion to his work comes at the cost of several marriages, including a 14-year union with Lipton, who gave up her acting career to raise Rashida and another daughter. Jones' voracious work ethic comes with relentless womanizing and alcohol and drug abuse.
A reckoning arrives when the over-80-year-old Jones suffers a diabetic stroke. The film's dramatic appeal is heightened by Jones' recovery from the life-threatening event, along with a later heart attack. Earlier in his career, while married to Lipton, Davis underwent surgery for two brain aneurysms, one of which left him unconscious.
The aging Davis' near-death experience underscores a main theme of mortality. He often expresses sorrow over the deaths of musicians with whom he'd worked.
Another motif is family; Davis is shown at gatherings with his children and grandchildren. He often regrets his failed marriages, especially with Lipton.
After giving up alcohol and improving his diet, the 86-year-old Davis is shown producing the stirring concert marking the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History and Culture before the 2016 presidential election.
That joyful moment at the close of the Obama administration brings the film to an inspiring conclusion. Sadly, the election of Donald Trump, the George Floyd death and the attack on the U.S. Capitol would show the persistence of American racism.
But Davis, at age 88, is still producing music. The film highlights his reaching out to rising musicians. His production company's web site shows a deep roster of young talent.
Jones' work has spanned musical genres and generations. "Quincy" affirms the American dream.