Al Jarreau is gone, and will never be replaced

… from Variety

Al in his younger days

[ Editor’s Note: Al is gone, but the music remains. He worked right up to the end, a labor of love. I regret that I never saw him live, as probably most of us probably have not.

My first pick below is a more recent 2016 event, for those who have not seen him in a long time, even on YouTube, like me. The second is German concert in 1994, so you can hear a bit of younger Al to compare.

There were no knock off Al Jarreaus. His voice and his style just could not be copied.

I remember in younger years, when finally getting a higher end stereo system with major speakers I started to broaden my listening interests. A Vietnam vet buddy with an EE degree had gone to work with Bose as a rep, working the audiophile market, back when carefully selected demo records (yes, the vinyl days) we used to demo what the speakers could really put out.

Manheim Steamroller  music was very popular demo music due to Chip Davis’ wide variety of  instrumentals, and Al Jarreau was a top pick for his vocals. Paul also taught me the art of buying good affordable used speakers because the multiple points of origin gave you a concert-like effect that no single pair of speakers could do. It was literally like having a choir of speakers.

Ah, the memories…and the appreciation of running into people in life that could show you how to enjoy it a lot more. I was able to repay his past favors about ten years ago when Manheim Steamroller came to Atlanta for an Xmas concert and I took him to the show. Enjoy a little Al when you have some time. He sure did Jim W. Dean ]

Editor’s Note will be crowd funding via PayPal during 2017 at:  [email protected]

Research, field trips, databasing Heritage TV’s archives, and more


– First published  …  February 12, 2017

Singer Al Jarreau, a multiple Grammy winner known for his smooth voice and scat singing skills on  jazz and R&B songs like “Breakin’ Away,” died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 76. He had been hospitalized recently and cancelled his upcoming tour dates.

statement on his website said in part, “He will be missed. His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need.

Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen.”

The only vocalist to win Grammys in the jazz, pop, and  R&B categories, his hit songs included “We’re in This Love Together,” “After All,” “Boogie Down,” “Never Givin’ Up,” and the theme song to the TV series “Moonlighting,” for which he wrote the lyrics.

Jarreau’s first attention came for his 1975 album “We Got By” and follow-ups “Glow” and “Look to the Rainbow.” He entered the Top Ten with “Breakin’ Away.” His hit theme to “Moonlighting” came in 1987.

In 1998, Jarreau found a fresh burst of acclaim after signing to Verve/GRP in 1998, where he reunited with producer Tommy LiPuma. His 2006 album “Givin’ It Up,” recorded with George Benson, was nominated for three Grammys. He also released a holiday album, “Christmas” in 2008.


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9 Responses to "Al Jarreau is gone, and will never be replaced"

  1. wjabbe  February 13, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for this article Jim. I enjoyed both videos. I had both violin and piano lessons as a kid and even played in a school orchestra but I was more interested in working on my hot rod all night and driving the neighbors crazy. I even spent some time in the pokey for drag racing on public streets. I had two uncles, Thor a very good engineer and Harold a very good violinist. About 30 years ago when I visited Thor he told me Grandfather had both of them play a tune for him on the violin as kids and as a result of this determined that Harold would have the lessons. It seems that one either has this talent or doesn’t have this talent. But it still requires great effort and determination to hone this skill to a high level.

  2. JohnZ  February 13, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Al Jarreau had ten times the talent of George Michaels. Wanna bet you won’t see his picture on the cover of a magazine. Although I didn’t listen to him very often as my musical interests were more into the jazz instrumental scene, I can appreciate the finer qualities of those who know how to make music with their voices. Al Jarreau was one of them.
    On another sad note, former Allman brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks died a few weeks ago from a self inflicted gunshot wound.
    Goodbye and RIP Butch, you are now with your other Brothers, Duane and Barry.

    • Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor  February 13, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Butch was the classic band guy living above his means. Drummers especially, don’t have song writer royalties which is where the retirement money is. Typically they will live in denial while eating through assets with a wife very unhappy watching all this, so dad punches out to avoid being asked “why did you keep blowing through the dough”. Grandkids and great grandkids don’t really care how much money you make. They just want you around.

    • Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor  February 13, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      Oh…we had the Allman brothers for a frat party band in Raleigh, way back when… Those were the days.

  3. MileHighLife  February 12, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, Mr Dean. Al Jerreau certainly left a unique legacy in the music biz.

    I always enjoyed a vast array of music. During junior high (early 80’s) I tape recorded Jerreau’s ‘Roof Garden’ from the local “soft rock” radio station in Denver and played it on my beloved Boom Box while making my bed (and roof dancing!) before catching the bus to school. The next year, that chore-motivating role belonged to Journey’s ‘Seperate Ways’ lol

    Ahh the things we remember — thanks for that one, Big Al!

    • MileHighLife  February 12, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Al Jerreau’s Roof Dancing, for those in the mood to waltz in the garden…

    • Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor  February 13, 2017 at 5:25 am

      Those of us who came of age in the late 60’s, we lived through a music era that will probably never happen again. Amazingly, the Rolling Stones crew seems to be outliving all of them. They use to vacation in Barbados in the winter, a good place as the locals left them alone, like never interrupting their privacy in public for autographs, etc. We were on a nice outdoor patio for lunch one day when they took a table about 15 feet from us, party of eight. While they ate they were lighting one cigarette off of another, and strange spice to add to your food…Keith Richards looking like a concentration camp survivor, etc. They were walking poster boys for the benefits of drugs, alcohol and smoking.

    • JohnZ  February 13, 2017 at 6:49 am

      Apparently Keef has cleaned up his act from what I hear. The amazing fact that he is still alive is a tribute to modern medicine. They are survivors in within a toxic industry. Lennon would still be with us if not for Chapman and George was fated to die too soon.

    • JohnZ  February 14, 2017 at 5:07 am

      I hated “soft rock” back then and still do today. In the same league as disco.

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