Everybody and their Mama knows I’ve been digging Al Jarreau‘s grooves for decades.
From the first time I heard my aunt spin Take Five, I was hooked. Remember, I’m from the Motor City. That, right there, means I’d heard group harmony with 4 and 5 different voices from the crib. And, until my sophomore year in high school, I was a soprano. (No. Not with no band or nothing like that. Just your basic singing songs to the young sisters around the way and half-ass trying to write a song or 2.) But, Al Jarreau? Man, that cat can sing “instruments”.
Then, I heard an Al Jarreau interview on Detroit’s old WJZZ a few years later. He was talking about how he had grown up in 1950’s Milwaukee, knocking around and singing in local bars and whatnot. But, the thang that stood out in that interview for me was when he said how much folks would tell him how much they dug his vocal style. Despite that, he wasn’t sure he would be able to make a living out of it.
Let Al Jarreau tell it, it dawned on him one day and he said, “Hey. Maybe this singing thing is what I SHOULD be doing….full-time.”
I recorded that interview that night it aired. I only wish I had that cassette tape now. Because the last time I saw Al Jarreau was at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, NJ with his long-time friend, the late George Duke.
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