Alwin "Al" Lopez Jarreau (March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017) was an American singer and musician. He received a total of seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for over a dozen more. Jarreau is perhaps best known for his 1981 album Breakin' Away. He also sang the theme song of the 1980s television series Moonlighting, and was among the performers on the 1985 charity song "We Are the World."
Jarreau performing in January 1981
|Birth name||Alwin Lopez Jarreau|
|Born||March 12, 1940|
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||February 12, 2017 (aged 76)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 12, 1940, the fifth of six children. Jarreau's father was a Seventh-day Adventist Church minister and singer, and his mother was a church pianist. Jarreau and his family sang together in church concerts and in benefits, and he and his mother performed at PTA meetings.
Jarreau was student council president and Badger Boys State delegate for Lincoln High School. At Boys State, he was elected governor. Jarreau went on to attend Ripon College, where he also sang with a group called the Indigos. He graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Two years later, in 1964, he earned a master's degree in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Iowa. Jarreau also worked as a rehabilitation counselor in San Francisco, and moonlighted with a jazz trio headed by George Duke. In 1967, he joined forces with acoustic guitarist Julio Martinez. The duo became the star attraction at a small Sausalito night club called Gatsby's. This success contributed to Jarreau's decision to make professional singing his life and full-time career.
In 1968, Jarreau made jazz his primary occupation. In 1969, Jarreau and Martinez headed south, where Jarreau appeared at Dino's, The Troubadour, and Bitter End West. Television exposure came from Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, and David Frost. He expanded his nightclub appearances, performing at The Improv between the acts of such rising stars as Bette Midler, Jimmie Walker, and John Belushi. During this period, he became involved with the United Church of Religious Science and the Church of Scientology. Also, roughly at the same time, he began writing his own lyrics, finding that his Christian spirituality began to influence his work.
In 1975, Jarreau was working with pianist Tom Canning when he was spotted by Warner Bros. Records. On Valentine's Day 1976 he sang on the thirteenth episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live, that week hosted by Peter Boyle. Soon he released his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By, which catapulted him to international fame and won an Echo Award (the German equivalent of the Grammys in the United States). A second Echo Award would follow with the release of his second album, Glow. In 1978, he won his first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for his album, Look To The Rainbow.
One of Jarreau's most commercially successful albums is Breakin' Away (1981), which includes the hit song "We're in This Love Together". He won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for Breakin' Away. In 1984, his single "After All" reached 69 on the US Hot 100 chart and number 26 on the R&B chart. It was especially popular in the Philippines. His last big hit was the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s American television show Moonlighting, for which he wrote the lyrics. Among other things, he was well known for his extensive use of scat singing (for which he was called "Acrobat of Scat"), and vocal percussion. He was also a featured vocalist on USA for Africa's "We Are the World" in which he sang the line, "...and so we all must lend a helping hand." Another charitable media event, HBO's Comic Relief, featured him in a duet with Natalie Cole singing the song "Mr. President", written by Joe Sterling, Mike Loveless, and Ray Reach.
Jarreau took an extended break from recording in the 1990s. As he explained in an interview with Jazz Review: "I was still touring, in fact, I toured more than I ever had in the past, so I kept in touch with my audience. I got my symphony program under way, which included my music and that of other people too, and I performed on the Broadway production of Grease. I was busier than ever! For the most part, I was doing what I have always done...perform live. I was shopping for a record deal and was letting people know that there is a new album coming. I was just waiting for the right label (Verve), but I toured more than ever." In 2003, Jarreau and conductor Larry Baird collaborated on symphony shows around the United States, with Baird arranging additional orchestral material for Jarreau's shows.
Jarreau toured and performed with Joe Sample, Chick Corea, Kathleen Battle, Gregor Praecht, Miles Davis, George Duke, David Sanborn Rick Braun, and George Benson. He also performed the role of the Teen Angel in a 1996 Broadway production of Grease. On March 6, 2001, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 7083 Hollywood Boulevard on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. In 2006, Jarreau appeared in a duet with American Idol finalist Paris Bennett during the Season 5 finale and on Celebrity Duets singing with actor Cheech Marin. In 2010, Jarreau was a guest on a Eumir Deodato album, with the song "Double Face" written by Jarreau, Deodato, and Nicolosi. The song was produced by the Italian company Nicolosi Productions. On February 16, 2012, he was invited to the famous Italian Festival di Sanremo to sing with the Italian group Matia Bazar.
Jarreau was married twice. Jarreau and Phyllis Hall were married from 1964 until their divorce in 1968. Jarreau's second wife was model Susan Elaine Player, who was fourteen years his junior. They were married from 1977 until his death in 2017 and had a son. In 2009, children's author Carmen Rubin published the story Ashti Meets Birdman Al, inspired by Jarreau's music. He wrote the foreword for the book and read from it across the world. Al and Carmen worked together to promote literacy and the importance of keeping music alive in children.
It was reported on July 23, 2010, that Jarreau was critically ill at a hospital in France, after performing in Barcelonnette, and was being treated for respiratory problems and cardiac arrhythmias. Jarreau was conscious, in stable condition, and in the cardiology unit of La Timone hospital in Marseilles, the Marseilles Hospital Authority said. He remained there for about a week for tests.
In June 2012, Jarreau was diagnosed with pneumonia, which caused him to cancel several concerts in France. Jarreau made a full recovery and continued to tour extensively for the next 5 years until February 2017.
On February 8, 2017, after being hospitalized for exhaustion in Los Angeles, Jarreau cancelled his remaining 2017 tour dates. On that date, the Montreux Jazz Academy, part of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, announced Jarreau would not return as a mentor to ten young artists, as he had done in 2015.
He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).
|Year||Song||Peak chart positions|
|US Pop||US R&B||US A/C||US Jazz||CA A/C||UK||NZ||NL||BE||FR|
|1976||"Rainbow in Your Eyes"||—||92||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1978||"Thinkin' About It Too"||—||55||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Gimme What You Go"||—||63||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Never Givin' Up"||—||26||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1981||"We're in This Love Together"||15||6||6||x||1||55||24||—||—||—|
|"Teach Me Tonight"||70||51||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Your Precious Love"
(with Randy Crawford)
|"Mornin'" (credited as Jarreau)||21||6||2||x||3||28||—||24||26||119|
|"Trouble in Paradise"||63||66||—||x||—||36||—||—||—||—|
|1985||"Day By Day"
|1986||"L Is for Lover"||—||42||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Tell Me What I Gotta Do"||—||37||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"The Music of Goodbye"||—||—||16||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1987||"Tell Me What I Gotta Do"||—||—||—||x||—||—||—||99||—||—|
|1989||"All of My Love"||—||69||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"All or Nothing at All"||—||59||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"It's Not Hard to Love You"||—||36||—||x||—||—||—||—||—||—|
(with George Benson)
|2014||"Bring Me Joy"||—||—||—||5||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"—" denotes the release did not chart. "x" denotes the chart did not exist at the time.|
|1978||Look to the Rainbow||Best Jazz Vocal Performance||Won|||
|1979||All Fly Home||Won|||
|1981||"Never Givin' Up"||Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male||Nominated|||
|In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record (featuring various artists)||Best Recording for Children||Won|
|1982||Breakin' Away||Album of the Year (shared with Jay Graydon)||Nominated|||
|Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male||Won|
|"(Round, Round, Round) Blue Rondo à la Turk"||Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male||Won|
|1984||Jarreau||Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) (for Jay Graydon)||Nominated|||
|Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical (for Ian Eales, Jay Graydon & Eric Prestis)||Nominated|
|"Mornin'"||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (for David Foster, Jay Graydon & Jeremy Lubbock)||Nominated|
|"Step by Step"||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) (shared with Tom Canning, Jay Graydon & Jerry Hey)||Nominated|
|1985||"Edgartown Groove" (featuring Kashif)||Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal||Nominated|||
|1986||We Are the World (as a part of USA for Africa featuring various artists)||Album of the Year (shared with Quincy Jones)||Nominated|||
|"We Are the World" (as a part of USA for Africa)||Record of the Year (shared with Quincy Jones)||Won|
|Song of the Year (for Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie)||Won|
|Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (shared with Quincy Jones)||Won|
|Best Music Video, Short Form (shared with Quincy Jones & Tom Trbovich)||Won|
|High Crime||Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male||Nominated|
|1987||"Since I Fell for You"||Nominated|||
|1988||"Moonlighting (theme)" (from the TV series Moonlighting)||Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male||Nominated|||
|Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television (shared with Lee Holdridge)||Nominated|
|1990||Heart's Horizon||Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male||Nominated|||
|1993||Heaven and Earth||Won|||
|1995||"Wait for the Magic"||Nominated|||
|2005||Accentuate the Positive||Best Jazz Vocal Album||Nominated|||
|2007||"Breezin'" (featuring George Benson)||Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|"God Bless the Child" (featuring George Benson & Jill Scott)||Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance||Won|
|2013||Live (featuring the Metropole Orkest)||Best Jazz Vocal Album||Nominated|
|"Spain (I Can Recall)"||Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) (for Vincent Mendoza)||Nominated|
|JumpinJazz Kids - A Swinging Jungle Tale (featuring James Murray & various artists)||Best Children's Album||Nominated|
|2001||Hollywood Walk of Fame|||
|2012||SoulMusic Hall of Fame at SoulMusic.com|||
|1991||Honorary Doctorate of Music||Berklee College of Music|||
|2004||Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts||University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee|||
B.SC. Physical Therapy M.A. Rehabilitation Therapy
Accentuate the Positive is an album of songs from the 1940s, recorded in 2004 by singer Al Jarreau. In 2005 the album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.Breakin' Away (album)
Breakin' Away is an album by Al Jarreau, released on June 30, 1981, through the Warner Bros. Records label. To quote Allmusic, "Breakin' Away became the standard bearer of the L.A. pop and R&B sound."The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.Fred Ravel
Fred Ravel is an American keyboardist. Ravel is a former member of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. As well he has worked with artists such as Sergio Mendes, Madonna, Al Jarreau and Flora Purim.Givin' It Up
Givin' It Up is a first-time recording/collaboration between seasoned and highly celebrated jazz artists-vocalist Al Jarreau and guitarist George Benson. It contains signature classics previously recorded by both veteran artists (Benson's "Breezin" and Jarreau's "Mornin") and original music of which both gentlemen masterfully contribute their talents. Other noteworthy vocalists and musicians featured are Jill Scott, Patti Austin, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Abe Laboriel, Chris Botti, Marcus Miller, and Beatles Legend Paul McCartney. This project also contains standards by Billie Holiday ("God Bless The Child") and Sam Cooke ("Bring It On Home To Me"), popular classics by Seals and Crofts ("Summer Breeze") and Daryl Hall ("Everytime You Go Away") along with the classic jazz-swing "Four" by the legendary Miles Davis, and the neo-soul hit "Ordinary People" by John Legend.
It was released by Concord Records in September 2006.
In 2007, Benson was awarded his 9th (or 10th) and Jarreau was awarded his 6th Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance on "God Bless The Child'" with Jill Scott. Benson also won his 10th (or 9th) Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance on "Mornin'", while "Breezin'" received a nomination for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.Glow (Al Jarreau album)
Glow is an album by Al Jarreau that was released in 1976.God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday song)
"God Bless the Child" is a song written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939. It was first recorded on May 9, 1941 and released by the Okeh Records in 1942.
Holiday's version of the song was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1976. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.Heaven and Earth (Al Jarreau album)
Heaven and Earth is the 13th studio album by Al Jarreau. It was produced by Narada Michael Walden and Louis Biancaniello. The album won Jarreau the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1993. Essentially a collection of R&B songs produced with the artist's jazz and pop sensibilities in mind, Heaven and Earth contains a two-part cover of the Miles Davis tune "Blue in Green," from Davis's Kind of Blue, that demonstrates Jarreau's considerable prowess as a vocal interpreter and scat singer.High Crime (album)
High Crime is the seventh studio album by Al Jarreau, released in 1984. While slightly lower in the charts than his 1981 Breakin' Away and 1983 Jarreau release, this album scored in the top 10 on the Billboard Jazz charts and top 50 in the Billboard 200. In 1986 the album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The album was certified Gold in 1986.AllMusic gave the album the following review: "High Crime is fueled by the hard-pushing hit from Jarreau's previous album Boogie Down, producer Jay Graydon cranks up the energy level some more and comes up with a snazzy high-tech vehicle for his converted R&B singer. The sound is hotter, stoked by greater reliance upon synthesizers and electronically goosed rhythm tracks, and Jarreau's own vocals are more hectic, though again not much in the way of individuality is required of him. But the material this time isn't as strong—though 'Murphy's Law' is pretty catchy with its flugelhorn punctuations—and so the reluctance to exploit the unique vocal talents of Jarreau is more glaring. The minor hit single of the album, oddly, is the mundane ballad 'After All,' an ominous harbinger of bathos to come from Jarreau down the road."Jarreau (album)
Jarreau is the sixth studio album by Al Jarreau, released in 1983. It was his third consecutive #1 album on the Billboard Jazz charts, while also placing at #4 on the R&B album charts and #13 on the Billboard 200. In 1984 the album received four Grammy Award nominations, including for Jay Graydon as Producer of the Year (Non-Classical).
The album contained three hit singles: "Mornin'" (U.S. Pop #21, AC #2 for three weeks), "Boogie Down" (U.S. Pop #77) and "Trouble in Paradise" (U.S. Pop #63, AC #10). The first charted during the spring and summer, the second in the summer and the latter charted in the fall.
In 2001, the album was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. It was remastered and re-released in 2009 by Friday Music with a bonus track.Jay Graydon
Jay Graydon (born October 8, 1949, Burbank, California) is an American songwriter, recording artist, guitarist, singer, producer, arranger, and recording engineer. He is the winner of two Grammy Awards (in the R&B category) with twelve Grammy nominations, among them the title "Producer of the Year" and "Best Engineered Recording". He has mastered many different music styles and genres, and his recordings have been featured on record, film, television and the stage.L Is for Lover
L is for Lover is a studio album by Al Jarreau, released in 1986. Nile Rodgers, the album's producer, called it "the best thing I ever made that didn't sell" in the July 27, 2015, issue of New York magazine. "The theme from Moonlighting was on it, but Al and I thought it wasn't cool enough. So we took it off the album. That becomes a hit, and the album sank. Shows what I know." The single version of the Moonlighting theme, originally included on the show's 1987 soundtrack album, was added to Friday Music's 2011 reissue of L Is for Lover along with a remix of the album's title track and the 12-inch extended mix of "Tell Me What I Gotta Do." The Rodgers-produced version of Moonlighting's theme song was used in the opening and closing credits of each episode of the show's fourth ('87-'88) and fifth ('88-'89) seasons.Larry Williams (jazz musician)
Larry Williams (Lawrence Lowell Williams) is a Grammy-nominated producer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist who formed the jazz fusion group Seawind in the mid-1970s. His notable session work includes the distinctive saxophone solo on Sheila E.'s "The Glamorous Life", and sax, keyboard and arrangements for George Benson, Michael Jackson (Thriller, Off the Wall and Bad), Quincy Jones and Mika. He regularly tours and records with Al Jarreau. His film and television work include saxophone in the film Dreamgirls (uncredited on the corresponding soundtrack album), and sax and keyboards on several Grammy Award telecasts in the 2000s.Look to the Rainbow (Al Jarreau album)
Look to the Rainbow is a live album by Al Jarreau, released on May 27, 1977 by Warner Bros. Records. It marked a breakthrough for his career in Europe and later also in the US. In 1978 it won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.Moonlighting (theme song)
"Moonlighting" is the theme song to the ABC comedy-crime drama of the same name, which ran from 1985 to 1989 and starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. The theme song was performed by Al Jarreau, who wrote the song with Lee Holdridge; it was produced by Nile Rodgers. Included on the soundtrack album for the series and released as a single in 1987, the song reached number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart. In 1988 the song earned two Grammy Award nominations for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television.Mornin'
"Mornin'" is a 1983 hit song by Al Jarreau, billed simply as 'Jarreau'. It was the first of three single releases from his sixth studio album, Jarreau.
In the US, the song spent 15 weeks on the pop charts, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song charted similarly across much of Europe. "Mornin'" was a much bigger Adult Contemporary hit, reaching number two in the US and number three in Canada.Since I Fell for You
"Since I Fell for You" is a jazz and pop standard. The blues ballad was composed by Buddy Johnson in 1945 and was first popularized by his sister, Ella Johnson, with Buddy Johnson and His Orchestra. In 1947, the song again became a hit for Annie Johnson and Paul Gayten, reaching number three on the R&B chart.
The biggest hit version of "Since I Fell for You" was recorded by Lenny Welch in 1963, reaching number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 28, 1963. It also reached number three on the Easy Listening chart.In 1967, the song recharted at #134.A version by Annie Laurie with Paul Gayten and His Trio in 1947 peaked at number three on the Race Records chart and number twenty on the pop chart.Smooth jazz
Smooth jazz is music that evolved from a blend of jazz fusion and easy listening pop music, featuring a polished pop feel with little to no jazz improvisation. The genre arose in the mid-1970s in the United States, but it was not named "smooth jazz" until the 1980s. Traditional jazz players and jazz purists did not embrace the popular style; Jazz Journal's "Sound Investment" column stated in November 1999 that it "would cover an extremely wide spectrum of jazz styles" while avoiding smooth jazz.
The earliest smooth jazz music appearing in the 1970s includes the 1975 album Touch by saxophonist John Klemmer, the song "Breezin'" as performed by guitarist George Benson in 1976, the 1977 instrumental composition "Feels So Good" by flugelhorn player Chuck Mangione, and jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra's instrumental "Morning Dance", released in 1979. Smooth jazz grew in popularity in the 1980s as Anita Baker, Sade, Al Jarreau and Grover Washington released multiple hit songs. The smooth jazz genre began to decline at the end of the 1980s in a backlash exemplified by critical complaints about what many critics saw as the "bland" sound of top-selling saxophonist Kenny G, whose popularity peaked with his 1992 album Breathless.Tenderness (Al Jarreau album)
Tenderness is a live album by Al Jarreau, released on May 24, 1994, by Reprise Records. Although it is officially a live album, it is recorded in studio in front of an invited audience. The album is a compilation of some of Jarreau's older recordings like "We Got By" and "You Don't See Me", covers of artists such as Elton John and Carole King and The Beatles, and more recent pieces from Jarreau's catalogue.This Time (Al Jarreau album)
This Time is the fourth studio album by Jazz vocalist Al Jarreau, released in 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. The release marked a change in Jarreau's sound to a more R&B-oriented flavor. As a result, the album achieved more success on the mainstream charts than his previous works, while also topping the Jazz Charts. It also reached #6 on the R&B charts and #27 on the Billboard 200." In 1981 "Never Givin' Up" gave Jarreau a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male.
This Time marked Jarreau's first foray into the top 40 on the Hot 200 or top ten on the R&B charts, as well as his first #1 on the Jazz charts. His next album would prove even more successful, topping both the Jazz and R&B charts.