An Evening with Al Jarreau
On September 22, 2012, the Friends of MTCC were honored to host its third installment of an Evening with the one and only Al Jarreau. With his unique vocal style, grace and humor, all were enthralled by his performance. Proceeds were used to support educational and outreach programs of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
Al Jarreau’s unique vocal style is one of the world’s most precious treasures. His innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time with seven Grammy® Awards, scores of international music awards and popular accolades worldwide.
It's not surprising that he has perfected his technique to such an art. After all, he has been singing since the age of four, harmonizing with his brothers and performing solo at a variety of local events in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Music, however, was not always the major force in his life. He excelled in sports and was an above-average student throughout high school and college.
Enrolling at the respected Ripon College in Wisconsin, Jarreau continued singing for fun, performing locally with a group called The Indigos during weekends and holidays, and graduated with a Bachelor Of Science degree in Psychology. After moving on to the University of Iowa to earn his Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation, Jarreau subsequently relocated to San Francisco to begin a career in rehabilitation counseling.
In San Francisco, Al’s natural musical gifts began to shape his future. He found himself performing at a small jazz club with a trio headed by George Duke, and by the late 60s, he knew without a doubt that he would make singing his life. Shortly thereafter, he branched out to New York City as well, where he gained national network television exposure with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, David Frost and Mike Douglas.
Al’s career breakthrough came in 1977 when Warner Brothers Records released Look to the Rainbow , his live double album, which was culled from his first world tour from that same year, and earned the vocalist his first Grammy® for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
His fourth album, All Fly Home, was released in 1978 to further accolades and a second Grammy for Best Jazz Vocalist. It was followed by a string of innovative and original offerings, including 1980's This Time, and the million-selling Breakin' Away, which brought him a broader audience and two more Grammy's with awards for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male Jazz Vocalist.
He continued to top the stateside charts in 1987 and became a weekly guest in America's living rooms singing the Grammy® nominated theme song for the hit television series Moonlighting.
1996 brought some exciting career challenges. While on a break from touring, Jarreau accepted a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of Teen Angel in the hit musical Grease! Other recent credits include guest star appearances on New York Undercover, Touched By An Angel and a national McDonald's commercial with R&B sensation, Vesta Williams.
Al Jarreau received his own Star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame", in March 2001, commemorating his status as one of the best singers of his generation.
Al’s 30th year in the music business saw another landmark with the pairing up with his peer the legendary R&B guitarist & singer, George Benson, for the album Givin’ It Up. Recorded in Spring of 2006, this record featured many guest artists including Herbie Hancock, Sir Paul McCartney, Jill Scott, Chris Botti and Patti Austin, amongst others musical veterans. Givin’ It Up was released to critical acclaim on October 24, 2006 by Concord Music Group/Monster Music and garnered 3 Grammy® nominations for; Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, for “Breezin'” (nomination only), and two Grammy® wins in 2007 Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “God Bless The Child” feat. Jill Scott, and Best Pop Instrumental for “Mornin".
Early in 2008, Al handpicked his favorite romantic tunes spanning three decades for his Love Songs, a 14-track compilation that was released in January 2008 on Rhino/Warner Music Group. He also helped the Playboy Jazz Festival celebrate its 30-year anniversary by headlining a sold-out opening night at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
A few months later on October 14, 2008, Al released his first-ever Yuletide album, Christmas. The album features his warm and inimitable voice interpreting a dozen holiday classics, including ”The Christmas Song”, “Winter Wonderland” and “Carol Of The Bells”.
After more than 30-years Al Jarreau is undoubtedly one of the greatest performers and innovative vocalists the music world has ever known. Time Magazine called him ‘the greatest jazz singer alive’ and 'Excellent Adventure' illustrates perfectly the reason why.
Al continues to tour extensively worldwide, with his sextet and Symphony shows, and is currently in studio working on a new album.