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Al Jarreau

About Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau (1940-2017) is a Grammy Award winning American singer and musician who is known for his unique blend of jazz, soul and gospel. He is one of few artists to have Grammys in three separate categories – jazz, pop and R&B.

Jarreau left his career as a rehab counselor to perform music full time in the late 1960s. In the mid-70s his first two albums each won an Echo Award (German Grammy equivalent). They were followed by two Grammy-winning albums – the live Look To The Rainbow and his third studio album All Fly Home.

The 1980s saw Jarreau achieve international mainstream success, racking up eight US hits with three – “We’re In This Love Together”, “Mornin'” and “Moonlighting” – reaching the top 30. A number of these songs were also hits in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand – the biggest being “Roof Garden” which reached the top 5 in two countries. In 1985, Jarreau participated in the chart-topping charity single “We Are The World”.

When Billboard launched the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 1987, Jarreau appeared on it immediately with 1988’s Hearts Horizon. He would eventually accumulate eleven top 10 albums on it.

After his 1992 Grammy Award-winning thirteenth album Heaven And Earth, Jarreau took a six-year hiatus from recording to focus on touring and acting both on TV and Broadway.

In the 2000s, Jarreau worked with Verizon to create and promote a humanitarian reading and literacy program. After the creation of Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs Chart in 2005, his singles began charting again, beginning with a chart-topping collaboration with George Benson in 2006 on his 1983 hit “Mornin'”.

In 2010, Jarreau ended up in the ICU after having breathing problems his manager described as “life threatening” and was forced to cancel four concerts, but was performing again nine days later and ‘laughed off’ earlier news stories as ‘exaggerated’. He passed away in early 2017.