Feb 13, 2017
Seven-time Grammy award winning singer Al Jarreau died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He had recently been ill, and had cancelled his touring plans. Jarreau was 76 years old.
Jarreau is one of the few artists to have won Grammys in three separate categories — jazz, pop and R&B. He is ability to perform the most difficult vocalese stylings could easily slide into his more mainstream songs, making him the type of performer who attracts fans to jazz. He was one of the few jazz musicians to perform on the “We Are the World” single for Live Aid.
Jarreau earned a B.S. in Psychology and a Masters’ Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation, before moving to music full time in 1969. He quickly developed a strong following, following the likes of Jon Hendricks with his vocalese. It was not until a 1976 performance on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, however that he broke through to a wider audience; releasing his hit album We Got By that next week. He recorded ten albums for Warner Brothers/Reprise, including the Grammy winning All Fly Home, Breakin’ Away and Heaven and Earth. His song “Moonlighting” was the theme for the popular television series starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.
He had been in declining health since 2010, canceling shows due to respiratory illness and exhaustion. He had not recorded an album since 2014’s tribute to his long-time collaborator and friend George Duke, My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke.
Podcast 564 is my tribute to Al, with almost an hour of his tunes, showing his R&B and jazz chops, and including:
“My Favorite Things”
“Let’s Stay Together”
“We’re in this Love Together”
“My Foolish Heart”
“Churchyheart (Backyard Ritual)”
“Spain (I Can Recall)”
“Compared to What”
“Agua de Berber”