Besides my love of the music of Sinatra, Dean, Sam, Steve & Eydie and that genre, i do have a bit of contemporary music I love, too. One of those is the music of Al Jarreau. I always loved the scat of Fitzgerald and Torme and Jarreau was a new dimension. It was late in high school while working the caricature thing that i first heard ‘Roof Garden’. I remember buying his ‘Breaking Away’, one of the very few contemporary albums I’ve ever bought, at the Interstate Mall in Altamonte Springs, Florida. I’d had trouble finding it anywhere.
Along with purchasing his albums, I also attended many of his live performances. The first i attended also happened to be one of the first events at the newly opened Orange County Convention Center back around 1983. I still have a Jarreau shirt from one of his live concerts in the ’80s I attended.
About ten years ago Jarreau was the headliner of the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities in Eatonville, Florida. It was there that i sketched during the event and was fortunate that Jarreau signed it. It was the last i saw him in a concert.
He was a show all to himself. His movement and his whole soul was the music as much as what his vocal cords would provide. I recall he would perform at least one piece with no plugged in gadgets at all. The a cappella performance really showcased so much of the entertainer he was.