Al Jarreau dies
By Chris Cooke | Published on Monday 13 February 2017
Jazz singer Al Jarreau has died, aged 76, his publicist confirmed this weekend. He had been in hospital in LA seemingly being treated for exhaustion, having announced his retirement from live performance after five decades earlier this month.
A note from Jarreau’s rep on his official website reads: “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”.
Although drawn to music early in his life, Jarreau was nearly 30 before his music career took off. Prior to that he studied psychology at Ripon College in Wisconsin and vocational rehabilitation at the University Of Iowa, becoming a rehabilitation counsellor for people with disabilities in San Francisco.
His first love was jazz, but Jarreau crossed over into other genres too and – his death coming amid Grammy weekend – many of those paying tribute to the singer noted that over his career he won awards in the Grammy’s jazz, pop and R&B categories. His was also the voice on the theme tune to the 1980s TV show ‘Moonlighting’.
After paying tribute to Jarreau’s fans, family and collaborators, the official statement on his site concludes: “To young people everywhere, especially the musicians [Al] was grateful to meet at school workshops, musical competitions, residencies, and at concerts: From you, Al asks a favour. 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, neighbour, friend, and citizen”.