Jazz singing virtuoso Al Jarreau died February 12 only a few days after announcing his retirement from touring and exactly one month shy of his 77th birthday. Jarreau died in a Los Angeles hospital. While an official cause of death has not been released, Jarreau had been hospitalized for exhaustion.
The seven time Grammy Award winning artist achieved a feat that has never been repeated in the history of the Grammys, he earned a golden gramophone for his vocal abilities in three different musical categories – Jazz, R&B, and Pop. He was also one of the many voices that lent their talents to the charity hit “We Are the World”.
Jarreau was one of those artists who knew that his voice was more that just a voice but an instrument unto itself. He could scat like no one else since Ella Fitzgerald and had a smooth sound that didn’t need the vocal gymnastics popular today to draw in an audience.
The consummate musician once said, “I won’t apologize because the instruments on this stage are real and the music is not synthetic.”
Fans of the television series “Moonlighting” heard Jarreau’s voice performing the show’s theme song which he also wrote.
Other hits include “Break Away”, We’re in this Love Together”, “Boogie Down”, “Never Givin’ Up”, and “After All”.
Jarreau spent 50 years touring the world and performing for audiences. In 1994 he took a wee break from the road to land on Broadway portraying the Teen Angel in the revival of the musical “Grease”.
Along with the theme from “Moonlighting” Jarreau’s music can be heard on “Night Shift”, “Better Late than Never”, “Hot Dog…The Movie”, “Breakin’”, “City Heat”, “Out of Africa”, “Do the Right Thing”, “Dick Tracy”, “The Magic Voyage”, “Bebe’s Kids”, “Glengarry Glen Ross” , “Designing Women”, “People: A Musical Celebration”, “The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue”, “The Fighting Temptations”, “Against the Ropes”, “All I Got”, and “The LEGO Batman Movie”.
Over the years Jarreau has appeared on a plethora of variety, talk, and award shows. He is also listed as an actor in a few productions including playing himself in an episode of “New York Undercover” and “The Soul Man”, “Touched by an Angel” as himself and as Reverend Gentry Hall, “The Promised Land”, and as a singer in “Night of the Proms”.
Alwyn Lopez Jarreau was born March 12, 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The son of a minister, he got his musical start early in the church. But before becoming a musical sensation, Jarreau earned his master’s degree in psychology and worked as a social worker.
He is survived by his second wife Susan – to whom he had been married for 39 years – and son Ryan.
Al Jarreau discography:
We Got By”
“Look to the Rainbow: Live in Europe”
“All Fly Home”
“Replay of Al Jareau”
“L is for Lover”
“Heaven and Earth”
“Tribute to Bill Withers”
“All I Got”
“Accentuate the Positive”
“Givin’ it Up”
“Lou Harrison: A Portrait”
“Here I Am”
“My Old Friend Celebratng George Duke”
“Everybody is a Star: Live in Tokyo”
“All or Nothing at All”
“All of My Love”
“Givin it Up”
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Sherrill is an award winning journalist and photographer. Her specialty is music, entertainment, and sports.To date she has had over 6,000 works published - including profiles, news pieces, reviews, and obituaries; both in print and online. She has covered 100's of concerts and conducted numerous interviews including members of One Republic, Clannad, Celtic Thunder, The Wiggles, the J. Geils Band, DoDriver, More Than Me, abd Thunderhand Joe and the Medicine Show.She has also co-authored a book on the history of a Rochester New York Congregation.She is also a photographer and artist whose photographs can be seen in some of her articles.Unless otherwise stated, the photos that appear in the articles belong to her.Sherrill makes her home in the western New York area.Sherrill contributes music and sports news for The Daily Voice News.Contact her at: [email protected]