Milwaukee jazz legend Al Jarreau passes at 76
The singer died early Sunday, on February 12, according to a statement from his manager Joe Gordon. Gordon said in lieu of flowers or gifts, Jarreau’s family requested contributions be made to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music.
Born in Milwaukee on March 12, 1940, Alwyn Lopez Jarreau pursued his musical gift at an early age. By 4 years old he was singing in the church choir. Over a career of five decades, he won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for over a dozen more.
Jarreau was the first vocalist in music history to receive Grammy Awards in three separate categories, jazz, pop, and R&B.
Considered a quintessential contemporary jazz artist, he is best remembered for his 1981 album Breakin’ Away and for singing the theme song of the late-1980s television series Moonlighting.
“Al Jarreau passed away on February 12, 2017. He will be missed.
A few days ago, I was asked to describe Al to someone who knew of his success, but did not know him as a person. I responded with this: His second priority in life was music. There was no third. His first priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen.
A few things I think he would want mentioned right now:
To Al’s wife, son, sister, brothers, and family: You allowed Al to share himself with the world. He was grateful that you gave him that gift. He knew it was difficult, and regretted that more than he could explain. Please know that your gift was to us, too, and that we are also grateful.
To everyone who attended his concerts, and listened to his albums: He needed you, and you always were there for him, for more than 50 years. He was thankful for you every day, and did his best to show that to each of you.
To his band, and to the many, many talented musicians, writers, composers, and arrangers who played and collaborated with Al over the years: You enabled, supported, and thrilled him. He treasured you, and considered you brilliant. He loved sharing the stage with you, and was honored that you shared it with him.
To each promoter, presenter, and producer: Thank you for your faith in him. Your commitment to Al was both essential and endless, and he never took you for granted.
To his agents, managers, crew, counselors, publicists, and journalists who supported his work, and also to all of the airline, hotel, venue, and other people who hosted him like royalty: He noticed every bit of the dedication and effort that you unselfishly provided, without limits. And, he appreciated you completely.
To young people everywhere, especially the musicians he was grateful to meet at school workshops, musical competitions, residencies, and at concerts: From you, Al asks a favor. Please find any artistic thing that you can do with passion, and do it. With art in your life, you will be a better family member, neighbor, friend, and citizen.
Finally, to Al Jarreau: Thank you Al, from all of us. You completed your ministry in a beautiful and gracious way. Godspeed, you’ve earned it.”
Jarreau was hospitalized for exhaustion during a recent tour, and decided it was time to retire. According to a statement posted on his Twitter account, “He is thankful for his 50 years of traveling the world in ministry through music, and for everyone who shared this with him, his faithful audience, the dedicated musicians, and so many others who supported his effort.”
A few days later on February 12, and suffering from pneumonia, Jarreau dіеd in Los Angeles at the age of 76. At the hospital he was surrounded by family and friends.
Chaplin Entertainment, Inc.