Just days after announcing that he was retiring from touring after being hospitalized for exhaustion, legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau passed away Sunday morning in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jarreau’s unique singing style helped to make him one of jazz’s greatest vocalists. Dubbed “the voice of versatility” by the Chicago Tribune, Jarreau released 16 studio albums, a host of live albums, and several compilations.
Not everything we talk about at The Underground is about politics, at least that's what we strive for. This is a perfect example.
Jarreau's talents were numerous. He could literally use his voice to mimic instruments to such and extent that he could "trade fours" - what jazz musicians call trading four measure solos with another player - and the listener, if he/she was to close his/her eyes, wouldn't be able to tell which was Jarreau and which was the instrument.
The lyrics to his songs, whether the tune was up-beat of introspect, always allowed the listener to explore; to expound in a personal way that made experiencing his art a personal experience.
While in college, where I studied jazz music performance, among other things, I was heavily influenced by Jarreau's music, lyrics and his style. He will be missed by more than I believe he even thought possible. The real music industry has lost a giant.