Al Jarreau Day

March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017

A tribute to the popular singer

Singer Alwin Lopez “Al” Jarreau was born on March 12, 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jarreau began singing when he was four, performed locally in Milwaukee, and earned a degree in Psychology from Ripon College and a Masters degree in Vocational Rehabilitation at the University of Iowa.

He sang for the fun of it in college including with a group called the Indigos.

Jarreau moved to San Francisco to work in rehabilitation counseling but was drawn towards music and in 1965 he recorded his first album and one of the few of his that is purely straight ahead jazz, already sounding quite recognizable.

In San Francisco, Jarreau worked in small clubs, often with the George Duke Trio and, by the time he recorded his second album, in 1975, he was a brilliant scat singer who could expertly imitate instruments, but he had already decided to have a career in light r&b and pop music, with jazz only being part of what he performed.

Jarreau’s flexible voice and winning personality resulted in him becoming world famous, winning awards, filling stadiums, and selling millions of CDs.

Here is an early film clip of Al Jarreau in 1976 (from German TV) performing “Take Five.”


Al Jarreau, vocals
Tom Canning, piano, electric piano
Jerome Rimson, bass
Nigel Wilkins, drums

-Scott Yanow


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