Jazz Legend Al Jarreau Dies


LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Just days after abruptly canceling all of his upcoming shows and announcing that he was retiring, jazz legend Al Jarreau has died.

Jarreau, 76, had been hospitalized for exhaustion and retired from touring last week on advice from his doctors. A cause of death was not disclosed.

His death was confirmed by a post on his website: "He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few family and close friends. He will be missed. The family asks that no flowers or gifts are sent. Instead, please consider a contribution to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, a wonderful organization which supports music opportunities, teachers, and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin."

Jarreau, a native of Milwaukee, Wis., did not embark on his musical career until he was 30, but quickly made his mark with a vocal style straddled the borders of pop, soul and jazz. He was an outstanding technical singer, notable for his improvisation technique, which earned him the sobriquet the "Acrobat of Scat."

Jarreau won the first of his seven Grammy awards for his 1978 album "Look to the Rainbow" and then again in 1979 for "All Fly Home" In 1981, he won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children for "In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record" and then two Grammies in 1982, winning Best Pop Performance for his 1982 album "Breakin' Away" and Best Jazz Vocal Performance for "(Round, Round, Round) Blue Rondo à la Turk."

Two more Grammies would come his way — Best R&B Vocal Performance in 1993 for the soundtrack to "Heavan & Earth" and in 2007 when he won Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for "God Bless the Child" with Jill Scott and George Benson.

Among his best known recordings was the theme for the hit television show "Moonlighting" with Jarreau supplying the lyrics and vocal work and Lee Holdridge writing the theme itself.

He is survived by his wife, nee Susan Player; a son, Ryan; two brothers, Marshall and Appie; and a sister, Rose Marie Freeman. – Staff Writers