Lopez Jarreau (March 12, 1940 February 12, 2017),
better known by his stage name Al Jarreau, 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".
life and career
Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 12,
1940, 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.
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. 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.
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. 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 Grammy's
in the United States). A second Echo Award would follow
with the release of his second album, Glow. In 1978, Al
won his first U.S. Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance
for his album, Look To The Rainbow.
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. 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, 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.
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." 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.
at the Molde International Jazz Festival, 1996. Jarreau
toured and performed with Joe Sample, Chick Corea, Kathleen
Battle, Miles Davis, George Duke, David Sanborn,  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. 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.
Jarreau was married twice. His first marriage was to
Phyllis Hall. Jarreau and Hall were married from 1964 to
1968, when they divorced. Jarreau's second wife was model
Susan Elaine Player who was fourteen years his junior. Player
and Jarreau were married from 1977 until his death in 2017.
Jarreau and Player had one son together, Ryan. In 2009,
children's author Carmen Rubin published the story Ashti
Meets Birdman Al, inspired by Jarreau's music. 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.
It was reported, on July 23, 2010, that Jarreau was
critically ill at a hospital in France, while in the area
to perform a concert at nearby Barcelonnette, and was being
treated for respiratory problems and cardiac arrhythmias.
He was taken to the intensive-care unit at Gap late on July
22, 2010. Jarreau was conscious, in stable condition, and
in the cardiology unit of La Timone hospital in Marseilles,
the Marseilles Hospital Authority said. He was expected
to remain there for about a week for tests.
In June 2012, Jarreau was diagnosed with pneumonia, which
caused him to cancel several concerts in France. Jarreau
made a full recovery and continued to tour extensively for
the next 5 years until February 2017.
On February 8, 2017, after being hospitalized for exhaustion
in Los Angeles, Jarreau cancelled his remaining 2017 tour
dates. He died of respiratory failure, at the age of 76,
just two days after announcing his retirement.