R.I.P. Al Jarreau

 
Jazz and R&B singer Al Jarreau died today at the age of 76 after being hospitalized for exhaustion. Jarreau became known in the ’70’s for his fierce jazz scatting that led to a successful recording career on the R&B and jazz charts. His music was a combination of R&B, jazz and pop sensibilities and he was the rare artist to win Grammys (seven) in all those categories. He recorded 16 studio albums, five live recordings and toured endlessly right up until his last bout with sickness. Jarreau’s ability to enunciate a song into the stratosphere paved the way for vocalists like Bobby McFerrin and Kem.

The Milwaukee native’s first album 1975’s We Got By, was critically acclaimed and the beginning of his popularity as a singular voice in the jazz world. Any questions about his mainstream viability were answered when he wrote the theme song to the ’80’s TV show Moonlighting which starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. In the 2000’s he received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and appeared on American Idol. Jarreau’s website has a special message regarding his passing and his family has asked that in lieu of flowers and gifts, donations be made in his name to the  Wisconsin Foundation For School Music.