Jazz Vocal Master Al Jarreau: 1940-2017

Sunday, 12 February 2017 08:33 PM Written by 


Jarreau in 2012                                                             (Luca Bruno, AP)

 Singer Al Jarreau, who died in Los Angeles today at 76, just announced his retirement days earlier, having dealt with health issues going back to 2010. A genuine stylist, Jarreau, who worked in occupational therapy, didn't actively pursue a musical career until the late 60's and early 70's. While many jazz vocalists never manage to expand their appeal beyond their core audience, Jarreau took his distinctive, rhythmic approach to jazz vocalizing beyond jazz to the mainstream, finding acceptance in the R&B and the pop fields. Jarreau, who died the night of the annual Grammy Awards, won six Grammys of his own between 1978 and 2007.

You can find the information anywhere; these selected videos tell the story.

1977: "Take Five" his vocal adaptation of the Dave Brubeck instrumental, from German TV

1981: "We're In This Love Together" The official video. Jarreau also sang this as musical guest on a 1981 episide of SCTV, whose writers built an entire sketch around him, spoofing the classic Al Jolson film The Jazz Singer.

1983 "Mornin'"

1987 "Moonlighting" From the Cybill Shepard-Bruce Willis TV show—The official video.

1988: "So Good" from the short-lived NBC music program Sunday Night, hosted by sax great David Sanborn. In the band: guitarist Hiram Bullock and bassist Marcus Miller.

2004 :"Groovin' High" Jarreau takes on the 1945 Dizzy Gillespie-Charlie Parker jazz standard.  He does more than that, actually.  He makes it a medley of "Groovin'," and the 1920 pop standard "Whispering," whose harmonic structure and chord changes inspired Gillespie to write "Groovin'."

With other jazz greats:

1982 "Your Precious Love." With Randy Crawford.

1997 "Take Five" with Dave Brubeck on piano.

2006: "God Bless The Child." the Grammy-Winning recording of Billie Holiday's classic, with Jill Scott and Pittsburgh's own George Benson


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