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Al Jarreau on Wikipedia
Al Jarreau
JarreauAlDuesseldorf1981.jpgJarreau performing in January 1981.
Background information
Birth nameAlwin Lopez Jarreau
Born(1940-03-12)March 12, 1940
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedFebruary 12, 2017(2017-02-12) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Jazz
  • R&B
  • Soul
  • Singer
  • musician
  • Vocals
  • Vocal percussion
  • Shekere
Years active1967–2017
  • Reprise
  • Warner Bros.
  • Concord
  • Rhino
  • Verve
Associated acts
  • Joe Sample
  • Chick Corea
  • Kathleen Battle
  • Miles Davis
  • David Sanborn
  • Rick Braun
  • George Benson
  • Vesta Williams
  • Ray Reach
  • George Duke

Alwin Lopez "Al" 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 late-1980s television series Moonlighting, and was among the performers on the 1985 charity song "We Are the World".


  • 1 Early life and career
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Illness and death
  • 5 Discography
    • 5.1 Albums
    • 5.2 Live albums
    • 5.3 Compilations
      • 5.3.1 Various composers
    • 5.4 Singles
    • 5.5 Soundtrack inclusions
    • 5.6 Guest appearances
  • 6 Awards
    • 6.1 Grammy Awards
    • 6.2 Hall of Fame
    • 6.3 Honorary degrees
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links

Early life and career

Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 12, 1940,[1] the fifth of six children. The Jarreau website refers to Reservoir Avenue, the name of the street where he lived. 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.[2]

Jarreau was student council president and Badger Boys State delegate for Lincoln High School. At Boys State, he was elected governor.[3] 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.[1] 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.[4] 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.[5]


In 1968, Jarreau made jazz his primary occupation. In 1969, Jarreau and Martinez headed south, where Jarreau appeared at such Los Angeles hot spots as 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-star comics as Bette Midler, Jimmie Walker, and John Belushi.[6] During this period, he became involved with the United Church of Religious Science and the Church of Scientology, but he later dissociated from Scientology. Also, roughly at the same time, he began writing his own lyrics, finding that his Christian spirituality began to influence his work.[2]

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 13th episode of NBC's new Saturday Night Live, that week hosted by Peter Boyle.[7] Soon thereafter he released his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By, which catapulted him to international fame and garnered him 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.[8] In 1978, Al won his first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for his album, Look To The Rainbow.[9]

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.[10] 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"[11]), 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 Al in a duet with Natalie Cole singing the song "Mr. President", written by Joe Sterling, Mike Loveless and Ray Reach.[12]

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."[13] 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.[14][15][16]

Jarreau toured and performed with Joe Sample, Chick Corea, Kathleen Battle, Gregor Praecht, Miles Davis, George Duke, David Sanborn[17] 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.[18] 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 the new Eumir Deodato album, with the song "Double Face" written by Nicolosi/Deodato/Al Jarreau. 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.

Personal life

Jarreau was married twice. Jarreau and Phyllis Hall were married from 1964 until their divorce in 1968.[5][11] 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.[19] In 2009, children's author Carmen Rubin published the story Ashti Meets Birdman Al, inspired by Jarreau's music.[20] 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.

Illness and death

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.[21][22] 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.[23]

In June 2012, Jarreau was diagnosed with pneumonia, which caused him to cancel several concerts in France.[24] Jarreau made a full recovery and continued to tour extensively for the next 5 years until February 2017.[25][26]

On February 8, 2017, after being hospitalized for exhaustion in Los Angeles, Jarreau cancelled his remaining 2017 tour dates.[27] He died of respiratory failure, at the age of 76, just two days after announcing his retirement.[11][28][29]

He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).



  • 1975: We Got By (Reprise) US# 209
  • 1976: Glow (Reprise) – US# 132, R&B No. 30, Jazz# 9
  • 1978: All Fly Home (Warner Bros.) – US# 78, R&B# 27, Jazz# 2
  • 1980: This Time (Warner Bros.) – US# 27, R&B# 6, Jazz# 1
  • 1981: Breakin' Away (Warner Bros.) – US# 9, R&B# 1, Jazz# 1, UK# 60
  • 1983: Jarreau (Warner Bros.) – US# 13, R&B# 4, Jazz# 1, UK# 39
  • 1984: High Crime (Warner Bros.) – US# 49, R&B# 12, Jazz# 2, UK# 81
  • 1985: 1965 (Bainbridge Records, recorded in mid-1965 and originally entitled My Favourite Things - Circa 1965)[31]
  • 1986: L Is for Lover (Warner Bros.) – US# 81, R&B# 30, Jazz# 9, UK# 45
  • 1988: Heart's Horizon (Reprise) – US# 75, R&B# 10, Jazz# 1
  • 1992: Heaven and Earth (Warner Bros.) – US# 105, R&B# 30, Jazz# 2
  • 2000: Tomorrow Today (Verve) – US# 137, R&B# 43, Jazz# 1
  • 2002: All I Got (Verve) – US# 137, R&B# 43, Jazz# 3
  • 2004: Accentuate the Positive (Verve) – Jazz# 6
  • 2006: Givin' It Up (with George Benson) (Concord) – US# 58, R&B# 14, Jazz# 1
  • 2008: Christmas (Rhino) – Jazz# 5[32]
  • 2014: My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke (Concord)[33]

Live albums

  • 1977: Look to the Rainbow (Warner Bros.) – US# 49, R&B# 19, Jazz# 5
  • 1984: In London (Warner Bros.) – US# 125, R&B# 55, Jazz# 10. Sometimes titled Live in London.
  • 1994: Tenderness (Warner Bros.) US# 114, R&B# 25, Jazz# 2. Recorded live in a studio in front of an invited audience.
  • 2012: Al Jarreau and The Metropole Orkest: LIVE (Concord)
  • 2011: Al Jarreau And The George Duke Trio: Live At The Half/Note 1965, Volume 1 (BPM Records).[34]


  • 1996: Best Of Al Jarreau (Warner Bros.) – Jazz No. 8
  • 2008: Love Songs (Rhino)
  • 2009: An Excellent Adventure: The Very Best Of Al Jarreau (Rhino)[35] (This compilation holds one previously unreleased track: "Excellent Adventure")
  • After Jarreau's breakthrough in 1975 an almost uncountable number of compilations of earlier recordings from 1965 to 1973 have emerged, including some or all of the following songs:

Various composers

  • "My Favorite Things" (5:02, Hammerstein, Rodgers)
  • "Stockholm Sweetnin'" (5:50, Jones)
  • "A Sleepin' Bee" (5:52, Arlen, Capote)
  • "The Masquerade Is Over" (6:34, Magidson, Wrubel)
  • "Sophisticated Lady" (4:14, Ellington, Mills, Parish)
  • "Joey, Joey, Joey" (3:42, Loesser)


  • 1976: "Rainbow in Your Eyes" – R&B No. 92
  • 1977: "Take Five" – R&B No. 91
  • 1978: "Thinkin' About It Too" – R&B No. 55
  • 1980: "Distracted" – R&B No. 61
  • 1980: "Gimme What You Got" – R&B No. 63
  • 1980: "Never Givin' Up" – R&B No. 26
  • 1981: "We're in This Love Together" – US No. 15, R&B No. 6, UK No. 55
  • 1982: "Breakin' Away" – US No. 43, R&B No. 25
  • 1982: "Teach Me Tonight" – US No. 70, R&B No. 51
  • 1982: "Your Precious Love", duet with Randy Crawford – R&B No. 16
  • 1982: "Roof Garden" – NL No. 2
  • 1983: "Boogie Down" – US No. 77, R&B No. 9, UK No. 63, NL No. 14
  • 1983: "Mornin'" – US No. 21, R&B No. 6, UK No. 28, NL No. 16
  • 1983: "Trouble in Paradise" – US No. 63, R&B No. 66, UK No. 36
  • 1984: "After All" – US No. 69, R&B No. 26
  • 1985: "Raging Waters" – R&B No. 42
  • 1986: "L Is for Lover" – R&B No. 42
  • 1986: "Tell Me What I Gotta Do" – R&B No. 37
  • 1986: "The Music of Goodbye" (from Out Of Africa), duet with Melissa Manchester – AC No. 16
  • 1987: "Moonlighting (theme)" (from Moonlighting) – US No. 23, R&B No. 32, UK No. 8, AC#1
  • 1988: "So Good" R&B No. 2
  • 1989: "All of My Love" – R&B No. 69
  • 1989: "All or Nothing at All" – R&B No. 59
  • 1992: "Blue Angel" – R&B No. 74
  • 1992: "It's Not Hard to Love You" – R&B No. 36
  • 1998: "Smile/Pierrot", duet with Gregor Prächt
  • 2001: "In My Music" (with Phife Dawg)[32]

Soundtrack inclusions

  • 1982: "Girls Know How", in the film Night Shift (Warner Bros)
  • 1984: "Moonlighting (theme)" and "Since I Fell for You", in the television show Moonlighting (Universal)
  • 1984: "Boogie Down", in the film Breakin' (Warner Bros)
  • 1986: "The Music of Goodbye", duet with Melissa Manchester, in the film Out of Africa (MCA Records)
  • 1989: "Never Explain Love", in the film Do the Right Thing (Motown)
  • 1992: "Blue Skies", in the film Glengarry Glen Ross (New Line Cinema)
  • 1992: "Heaven Is", in the film The Magic Voyage (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)
  • 1984: "Million Dollar Baby", in the film City Heat (Warner Bros)

Guest appearances

  • 1978: "Hot News Blues" from Secret Agent/Chick Corea (Polydor)
  • 1979: "Little Sunflower" from The Love Connection/Freddie Hubbard (Columbia)
  • 1983: "Bet Cha Say That to All the Girls" from Bet Cha Say That to All the Girls/Sister Sledge (Cotillion)
  • 1985: "We Are the World" from We Are the World/USA for Africa (Columbia) US No. 1, R&B No. 1 UK No. 1
  • 1986: "Since I Fell for You" from Double Vision/Bob James & David Sanborn (Warner Bros.)
  • 1987: "Day by Day" from City Rhythms/Shakatak
  • 1997: "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye" from Doky Brothers 2/Chris Minh Doky/Niels Lan Doky (Blue Note Records)
  • 1997: "Girl from Ipanema" and "Waters of March" from A Twist of Jobim/Lee Ritenour (GRP)
  • 2010: "Whisper Not" from New Time, New Tet/Benny Golson (Concord Jazz)
  • 1974: "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" from Body Heat/Quincy Jones (A&M) (Jarreau provides background scat and vocal percussion.)
  • 1982: "Your Precious Love (w/Randy Crawford)" from Casino Lights: Recorded Live At Montreux, Switzerland (Various Artists) (Warner Bros.)
  • 1998: "Smile and Pierrot (w/Gregor Prächt)" with Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, David Benoit, arranged by George Duke
  • 2006: "Take Five (w/Kurt Elling)" from Legends Of Jazz With Ramsey Lewis Showcase (Various Artists) (LRS Media)
  • 1989: "Somehow Our Love Survives" from Spellbound/Joe Sample (Warner Bros.)

Grammy Awards

Honorary degrees

Graduated Degrees

B.SC. Physical Therapy M.A. Rehabilitation Therapy


  1. ^ a b Fox, Margalit (February 12, 2017). "Al Jarreau, Singer Who Spanned Jazz, Pop and R&B Worlds, Dies at 76". The New York Times. p. B5. 
  2. ^ a b "Contemporary Authors Online: Biography Resource Center". Gale. Farmington Hills, Mich. 2009. 
  3. ^ "Badger Boys State Governors". Badger Boys State. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Al Jarreau Biography". Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Fields-White, Monée (February 12, 2017). "Al Jarreau, a Unique Musical Stylist, Dead at 76". The Root. 
  6. ^ "Al Jarreau Biography". Hollywood in Vienna. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Saturday Night Live: Peter Boyle/Al Jarreau, The Shapiro Sisters". Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Al Jarreau Vocals". Jazztage Dresden (in German). Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Jarreau wins Jazz Grammy". Milwaukee Sentinel. February 24, 1978. 
  10. ^ "Al Jarreau Breakin' Away Review". BBC. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c Schudel, Matt (February 12, 2017). "Al Jarreau, seven-time Grammy-winning singer, dies at 76". The Washington Post. 
  12. ^ Yancy, Robert; Cole, Timolin; Cole, Casey (January 12, 2016). "Unforgettable Natalie Cole". Focus VI. 
  13. ^ Jarreau, Al. "All I Got". Jazz Review (Interview). Interview with Ron Miller. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Al Jarreau joins the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Saturday February 27, 2016". 24-7 Press Release. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  15. ^ Kuznik, Frank (October 1, 2012). "Concert Review: Al Jarreau and the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall". Cleveland Scene. ISSN 1064-6116. 
  16. ^ "Larry Baird Biography". Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  17. ^ Box Score Top Grossing Concerts. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 1 June 1985. pp. 48–. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  18. ^ "Al Jarreau Honored With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame". Getty Images. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  19. ^ Chandler, D.L. (February 12, 2017). "Little Known Black History Fact: Al Jarreau". Black America Web. 
  20. ^ "Happy Birthday Al Jarreau". A Jazz Life. March 13, 2013. 
  21. ^ (AFP) –. "AFP: US jazz singer Al Jarreau critically ill in France". Archived from the original on July 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  22. ^ "US jazz singer Al Jarreau critically ill in hospital". 
  23. ^ "Al Jarreau Stable, Changes Hospitals in France". Associated Press. July 24, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Jazz singer Al Jarreau cancels France concerts". Yahoo!. Associated Press. June 4, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  25. ^ Mergner, Lee (August 15, 2010). "Al Jarreau: Feelin' Pretty Good Singer set for performances at Wolf Trap and other venues in U.S. and Japan". Retrieved December 6, 2010. 
  26. ^ DeVore, Sheryl (February 8, 2017). "Singer Al Jarreau cancels Genesee Theatre concert, retires from touring". Retrieved February 9, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Al Jarreau Forced to Retire". 
  28. ^ Al Jarreau, Grammy-winning jazz, pop and R&B singer, dies at 76, The Guardian 12 February 2017
  29. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne (February 12, 2017). "Influential jazz artist Al Jarreau, singer of 'We're in This Love Together,' dead at 76". Los Angeles Times. 
  30. ^ Al Jarreau discography at Discogs
  31. ^ "Al Jarreau Loses Dispute with Bainbridge Records". Jet. July 12, 1982. ISSN 0021-5996. 
  32. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 280. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  33. ^ "My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke - Al Jarreau - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". 
  34. ^ "George Duke Fans and Music Lovers". George Duke Online. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Welcome to – The Official site For Al Jarreau – 7 Time Grammy Award Winning Jazz / Crossover Legend!". Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  36. ^ "Past Winners Search". The Recording Academy. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients". Berklee College of Music. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  38. ^ Levy, Piet (February 12, 2017). "Al Jarreau, celebrated vocalist, Milwaukee native, dies at 76". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Al Jarreau at the Internet Movie Database
  • Audio interview with Al Jarreau on the Sodajerker on Songwriting podcast
  • "Al Jarreau performs 'You Don't See Me'" on the WGBH series, Say Brother
  • Al Jarreau 2006 Interview with George Benson on Sidewalks Entertainment
  • Al Jarreau 2006 Interview
  • Honorary Doctorate (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Al Jarreau at
  • Al Jarreau lyrics

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Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf, Germany)Buy Tickets
Theater am Aegi (Hannover, Germany)Buy Tickets
L'Olympia (Paris, France)Buy Tickets
Paradiso Grote Zaal (Amsterdam, Netherlands)Buy Tickets
De Oosterpoort (Groningen, Netherlands)Buy Tickets
Kongresshaus (Zürich, Switzerland)Buy Tickets

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