76-Year-Old Grammy Winner Al Jarreau Passes Away

76-Year-Old Grammy Winner Al Jarreau Passes Away

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Jarreau

Grammy winner, Jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away on Feb. 12, 2017. His death occurred two weeks after being hospitalized and canceling his tour.

The legendary singer-songwriter was admitted to the hospital for exhaustion. His cause of death is yet to be determined. NBC News reports he was surrounded by family and friends at the time of his passing.

Al Jarreau’s Awards

Coincidentally, his death was on the same day that the 59th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony.  He was the first vocalist to take home the iconic trophy in the Pop, R&B, and Jazz. Jarreau was nominated for 16 Grammys and won six of those.

  • In 1978 and 79, he won the award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
  • He won two Grammys for Best Male Vocal Performance in 1982. These were for the songs; “Breaking Away” and “(Round, Round, Round) Blue Rondo A La Turk.”
  • In 1993, Jarreau won Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Heaven and Earth.”
  • He secured the Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2007.

JarreauIn 1988, he received a nomination for the theme song from “Moonlighting,” in the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance category.

Jarreau won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album, in 2015. The album’s name is, “My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke.”

He was nominated for both a Daytime and Primetime Emmy Award in 2007 and 1985, respectively. In 1988 and 89, BMI Film and TV Awards acknowledged Jarreau with BMI TV Music Award for “Moonlighting.”

His Walk of Fame Star was awarded on March 6, 2001. It can be found on Hollywood Boulevard’s north side of the 7000 block.

Early Life and Career

Alwin Lopez “Al” Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., on March 12, 1940. When he was four years old, the jazz great began singing in the church choir where his father was a pastor.

In 1960, the Singer-songwriter graduated from Ripon College in Wisc. During the same time, he performed with a group called Indigos.

After he had earned a master’s degree, he moved to San Francisco, Calif., to begin his career as a social worker. However, his passion for singing was not left behind. Soon he found himself singing with the George Duke Trio in a small jazz club.

At the beginning of his musical career, Jarreau played in small Los Angeles Clubs, eventually finding his way to New York. He appeared on TV, with hosts the likes of Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin and more.

His first album was on Bainbridge label, In 1965, he released his first album, with the same name, which featured; bassist, Gary Allen; pianist, Cal Bezemer; and drummer, Joe Abodeely.

Between 1975 and 2014, he put out a new album almost every year. Jarreau toured the globe during this period of time. His 1985 album, “Breaking Away” earned Platinum status primarily due to the theme song for the hit TV show, “Moonlighting.” That single was “We’re in This Love Together.”

A compilation of his hits can be found on 1996’s “The Best of Al Jarreau.” Another notable contribution includes a song in the 1985 film, “Out of Africa.” He and Melissa Manchester sang “The Music of Goodbye.”

In tribute to the late great jazz singer-songwriter, The Los Angeles Times wrote:

Jarreau owned that free-flowing and often breezy subgenre somewhat derisively known “smooth jazz.” In reality, it was a cross-pollination of jazz with funk, pop and R&B that his voice helped establish in the ’70s and ’80s.

By Cathy Milne

Sources:

NBC News: Al Jarreau, Legendary Jazz Singer, Dies at 76
bio.: Al Jarreau
The Los Angeles Times: Hollywood Star Walk; Al Jarreau
The Los Angeles Times: An Appreciation: Vocalist Al Jarreau ventured further than his smooth reputation

Featured Image Courtesy of Wikimedia by Cezary M. Kruk – Creative Commons License
Top Image Courtesy of  Russell Mondy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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