"The Voice of Versatility" Al Jarreau Dead At 76

"The Voice of Versatility" Al Jarreau Dead At 76

"The Voice of Versatility" Al Jarreau Dead At 76

Photo of Al Jarreau courtesy of Karsten Jahnke.

Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau, 76, passed away Sunday morning in Los Angeles around 5:30 a.m.

Days after announcing his retirement from being a touring artist after entering into a hospital for exhaustion, Al Jarreau’s manager, Joe Gordon, released a statement about the singer’s death.

“Dear friends, family and colleagues,

Al Jarreau passed away this morning, at about 5:30 a.m. Los Angeles time. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by Ryan, Susan and a few of his family and friends.
Ryan and Susan will hold a small, private service at home, for immediate family only. No public service is planned yet, but I will inform you if that changes.

Ryan asks that no flowers or gifts are sent to their home or office. Instead, if you are motivated to do so, please make 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. A donation page is here. Even if you do not plan to contribute, please list that page and give yourself a few minutes to watch a beautiful tribute video that Wisconsin Public Television produced to honor Al when he received his lifetime achievement award in October.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Jarreau’s unique singing style helped to make him one of jazz’s greatest vocalists. During college, where he received a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, Jarreau performed with a local group called The Indigos before moving to San Francisco. There he hooked up with fellow jazz great George Duke to form a trio.

Inspired to pursue music full time, Jarreau moved south to Los Angeles, where he caught the eye of Warner Bros. talent scouts, who signed the singer to a recording contract. In Los Angeles, Jarreau’s career would take off after the release of his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By. In 1977, Jarreau would win his first of seven Grammy Awards for his live album, Look to the Rainbow.”

Back in 2010, Jarreau was critically ill while performing in France, and was being treated for respiratory problems and cardiac arrhythmias. While in the cardiology unit of La Timone Hospital in Marseille, he was expected to remain in their care for about a week. Two years later, he was diagnosed with pneumonia, and would go on to cancel the next several concerts he had in France. He eventually made a full recovery and continued to tour extensively until his retirement in 2017.

With over 16 studio albums, seven Grammy Award wins, feature appearances alongside legends such as Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea + Quincy Jones — Al Jarreau will be missed by music lovers the world over. From his appearance on “We Are The World” to “If I Ever Lose This Heaven,” Jarreau is one of the jazz greats that held a special place in our hearts. We send our most sincerest condolences to Al’s family, friends and fans, as “The Voice of Versatility” dazzles a new audience with his spectacular scatting sound in a place beyond.

Al Jarreau leaves behind his wife, Susan, and his son, Ryan.

Please contribute to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music by clicking here.

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