Just two days after his management announced that AL JARREAU was retiring; they have announced his sad passing. The jazz legend, we’re told, died today – February 12th – at a Los Angeles hospital where he had been being treated for “exhaustion”. Mr Jarreau was aged 76 and no immediate cause of death was given.
Born in Milwaukee in 1940, Al’s intro to the music biz was via a group called the Indigos. Later, in San Francisco he immersed himself in the local jazz scene and in the late 60s he was a regular performer in that city’s jazz bars where he often worked with George Duke
His first major contract was with Warner Brothers in 1975, and his albums ‘We Got By’ and ‘Look To The Rainbow’ made his name. The latter earned him his first GRAMMY. His ’81 long player ‘Breaking Away’ was a huge crossover hit and contained the hit single ‘We’re In This Love Together.’
Through the 90s Al Jarreau was never far from the charts with recordings like ‘Mornin’, the ballad ‘After All’ and the theme song from the television show ‘Moonlighting’. High profile collaborations and further boundary-pushing recordings brought Jarreau more GRAMMYS and a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Pigeon-holed as “jazz singer”, Jarreau was much, much more. Versatile and eclectic, he had a style and sound that was all his own…. totally unique. Interestingly, it’s told that Despite his GRAMMY Awards and growing acclaim, Jarreau groused that people like Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder and Al Green sold more records, even though they — in the view of many, including Mr. Jarreau himself — couldn’t match his vocal chops!
Read SJF’s 2014 interview with Al Jarreau: