Al Jarreau

A tribute to Al Jarreau

Alwin Lopez Jarreau

The one and only  -  treasured – beloved

Following the news of Al’s illness last week it is with very heavy hearts that we must tell you that, tragically, he lost his battle for life and passed away in Los Angeles early this morning.

It is our understanding that his wife and son and a few very close family friends were with him.
Al has suffered several occasions of ill health over the over the past few years, but with his indomitable spirit and lust for life and love of music – he always bounced back to bring more joy to millions of people across the globe.

The world is certainly a better place for Al’s presence, warmth and humanity.

We pray that he is at peace, with no more pain and we thank him for the abundant legacy of music he leaves us all.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

This is a very, very sad day.

The joyous relationship with Al and Marshall Arts began back in 1978 and what a fusion of styles Al brought to us; Soul, Jazz, Blues, Scat, Rock – it was all in there and was such a treat.

No one had heard anything like Take Five and over the following years Al just added more layers to his incredible interpretations of so many songs with amazing musicians, who, of course adore him. Al has the uncanny and legendary gift to mimic any instrument and has challenged many a great player.

Year after year Al has brought his magic. ‘Moonlighting’ was a wonderful time with the TV series credited as giving Bruce Willis his big break. Al seems to have been at the beginning of many things.

Whenever he walks into a room, he smiles and the sun comes out. He brings not only his talent, but a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation.

Indeed he worked as a rehabilitation counsellor in San Francisco – which shows his unselfish nature and tremendous care for others.

But it’s his music that had reached so many millions across the world. A great favourite at so many Festivals, he has been asked to return time after time to receive wonderful accolades.

His concerts were an amazing experience. There are simply too many amazing performances to mention. Montreux, Nordsee, Ronnie Scott’s, but the stand out was the fabulous night at Wembley Arena in 1984. Completely sold out and with very special guest David Sanborn. Footage of that night can still be seen online and sounds as fresh today as it did then.

He has been honoured with so many Awards throughout his Career – so many Grammys in different categories. Perhaps it is fitting that his passing is on the day of the Grammys—a stage he graced so often.

Each one of us in the Marshall Arts Family will continue to hold him in our hearts – with so much love and unending respect.

Al Jarreau announces two 2017 German dates with NDR Bigband

Al Jarreau returns with the renowned NDR Bigband and their sensational new programme The Duke Ellington Songbook - Ellington like you've never heard him before – Jarreau like you've never heard him before!

Once again, 2015 Al Jarreau returned to the place where his career really took off: Hamburg - the city that made him famous all over Germany 37 years ago. The reason was an offer he simply could not refuse. When NDR Bigband Leader Jörg Achim Keller approached Al Jarreau with the thought of the NDR Bigband revisiting the Duke Ellington Songbook with Jarreau as the vocalist, he couldn´t help himself but to helplessly fall in love with this idea.

So picture the 18 musicians of the NDR Bigband playing jazz in the studio, surrounding a 76 year old man throning like an eminence in their middle – despite not a grey eminence. With a smile like a sunbeam, he sings, he scats, he comes up with ideas. His tremendous lively energy radiates through the whole room and puts a smile on every face. He´s back.

Onkel Pö’s Carnegie Hall was the name of the place in Hamburg, by no means a hall, more like a small, smoke filled corner bar, that acted as launching pad for Uncle Al. His version of Dave Brubeck's Take Five he sang there for the first time, immediately got heralded as a true sensation. As you have it, only two weeks later he was famous all over Germany. "Of course I remember these times – how could I ever forget them? The people who saw me back in the day are still coming to my concerts today – bringing their grandchildren with them – to see Uncle Al! To come to Europe was one of the best ideas of my life. That experience opened my eyes to the fact that America indeed is a land full of european immigrants, and african immigrants, too. My initial idea was to share my music with the world, to share a smile with people, to dance and clap in time. And the first door that opened for me to this wonderful universe was here in Hamburg."

Now it´s to him to open doors once again. As Jörg Achim Keller's new take on Ellington's body of work by combining the qualities of Al Jarreau and the NDR Big Band through new arrangements, managed to create something really excitingly brand new – Ellington 2.0, if you will. Also, his collaboration with Keller managed to provide Jarreau, who grew up with the music of the greats like Ellington, Fitzgerald and so on with a totally new perspective of Ellington´s music than the few songs he already had in his live repertoire.

So, if push comes to shove, what is it that makes the difference to all the other Ellington programmes? First of all, it´s Jarreau's talent to not just cover a song (though he himself refers to his takes as Cover-Versions), but to completely making it his own and turning it into something exceptional – and also, it´s the unique quality of the human voice.

As Jarreau puts it "The voice is the first native instrument of humanity, it provides a warmth that no other instrument could ever fully imitate or substitute. Plus, the vocabulary, the messages that you can put into a song via the words, the sequence of words you are chosing to sing – all these ingredients create a very special form of human expression. I love language, I love to write lyrics that actually mean something, that are really saying something and that have a clear point. You can encourage people with words – a chance you just have to take!"

With the Duke Ellington Songbook Jarreau jumps at this chance in a way you'd never seen him do before or expected him to do so. If Germany would ever get the opportunity to adopt Al Jarreau as a citizen, it should not hesitate for a second.

Full details and tickets can be found here.

Al Jarreau announces Ronnie Scott's residency

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of 'Jarreau', the Platinum-certified album released in 1983, premier British trumpeter Tom Walsh and Larry Williams, Al Jarreau's pianist, horn player, and album producer, have enlisted their friends and colleagues to perform this fantastic, high-octane album in whole, with Al Jarreau himself.
A special project offering an extremely rare opportunity to catch this legendary artist perform music from one of his most acclaimed albums 'Jarreau' in the intimate surroundings of Ronnie Scott's across three nights with two performances each night.
Sunday 16th, Tuesday 18th & 19th February 2014. Tickets available here.
Al Jarreau is one of the world's musical treasures. With his unique vocal style, seven Grammys, scores of international music awards, and popular accolades worldwide, he is one of the most exciting and critically acclaimed performers of our time.