BIRTHDAY GREETINGS going out today to an American vocalist, songwriter, percussionist, flutist – who is not only the recipient of seven Grammys, he is the only vocalist in history to net Grammy awards in three different categories ,jazz, pop, and R&B. AL JARREAU!
Born this day, March 12, 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA, Al Jarreau was raised in a religious family. The son of a minister, Jarreau began singing in the church choir at age four. During his undergrad years at college, Jarreau formed a small vocal group that he performed with on weekends, the Indigos. Upon earning his Master’s Degree in Vocational, Jarreau moved to San Francisco to begin a career in social work. But his desire to sing won out, and Jarreau was soon seen moonlighting around town with George Duke’s trio and singing with his own accompanist at a club in Sausalito.
Jarreau was drawn to live in Los Angeles, with a larger music community, and he began playing in small clubs all along the West Coast. At this time, he also began writing his own lyrics. He branched out to New York City as well, where he gained national television exposure on Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin’s shows. In 1965, Al Jarreau released his first album, entitled “1965,” – and then he took a ten year break from recording! In 1975, Jarreau went back to the studio to produce “We Got By”, his first release for Warner Bros. Records, which won him his first award, the German Grammy! 1977 saw Jarreau on his first world tour. And during the next two decades, Jarreau would release almost an album per year, tour extensively, and win numerous awards and honors!
In 2009, children’s author Carmen Rubin published the story “Ashti Meets Birdman Al,” inspired by the music of Al Jarreau. Jarreau wrote the foreword for the book himself and reads from it on his concert tours. Since that time, Al Jarreau has devoted time to promoting literacy and the importance of keeping music alive in children.
Happy Birthday, Al!
Here, from a 1976 concert broadcast on German television, the talented and unique vocalist, Al Jarreau ~