Alwin (“Al”) Lopez Jarreau was a monarch to say the least in the world of Jazz. Very few musicians have been able to use their instruments as blissfully and as thoroughly as he. Born on March 12th 1940 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, Jarreau passed away this past weekend at the age of 76 leaving behind a legacy as great as the ones he partook in creating. With seven Grammy Award winnings and countless nominations under his belt; Jarreau not only defined a completely unadulterated sound but exceeded the constraints of ones vocal demeanor. He would go into duration’s of extended ad-libbing that were appropriately colorful and unexpected with cackling, grunting and melodic runs. By reason of this, other vocalists seemed almost insignificant using typical vibratos and phrases like “Oh baby.”
Amidst the authentic male vocalists of Jazz at that time, from Pop Standard and Broadway specialist Tony Bennett to the versatile, late-great Lou Rawls, Jarreau was definitely in a class of his own. While on stage Jarreau completely abandoned the typically designed seriousness that most Jazz musicians have, for a more unrestricted and amusing pattern that sprouted from an ambition to use his voice as an instrument of joyful healing. When interviewed by Midwestern writer Joey Grihalva, Jarreau was asked about his love for Jazz as a listener rather than a vocalist. His response; “…I love it because it was some of the first music that I ever heard and it’s in my heart and soul. But inside of that music I find a music that in itself has a real breadth of feelings that can be expressed.”
Here’s a few live performances that’ll recap on Al Jarreau’s gift to entertain as well as heal.
1. 1978’s “Thinking About it Too” shows off Al’s vocal skills effortlessly
2. Full orchestral arrangement’s of Jerreau classics from Al Jerreau and the Metropole Orkest
3. 1980’s “Alonzo” gives off a practically euphoric sound
4. 1981’s “Roof Garden” was a festive Jazz-Funk track
5. 1994’s “Summertime” with Alita Moses is enough to give one goosebumps