A hip-hop artist
Singer, songwriter. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 12, 1940. The quintessential contemporary jazz artist, Jarreau is the only vocalist in music history to receive Grammy awards in three separate categories (jazz, pop and R&B). He has recorded more than two dozen albums over the last three decades.
Jarreau grew up in a religious household; his father was a minister and Al began singing in the church choir at the age of four. In 1960, he graduated from Wisconsin's Ripon College, where he performed locally with a group called The Indigos on weekends. After earning his Master's Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa, he moved to San Francisco to begin a brief career as a social worker. There, his desire to sing persisted, and he found himself performing at a small jazz club with a trio headed by George Duke.
He moved to Los Angeles and began playing in small clubs on the West Coast. He branched out to New York City as well, where he gained national television exposure by crooning with Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin. His first album, 1965, released that year, was pure jazz featuring pianist Cal Bezemer, bassist Gary Allen and drummer Joe Abodeely.
In 1975, after a 10-year break from recording, Jarreau went back to the studio to produce We Got By, his first release for Warner Bros. Records. During the next two decades, Jarreau would release almost an album per year. Career highlights include 1981's Breakin' Away, which went platinum thanks to the hit single We're in This Love Together and the popular theme song from the 1980s television show, Moonlighting.
In 1977, Jarreau embarked on his first world tour and won his first American Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. His fourth album, All Fly Home, was released in 1978, earning a second Grammy for Best Jazz Vocalist. In 1985, Al Jarreau Live In London, recorded at Wembley Arena, helped solidify his reputation as a world-class master of both studio and stage. Breakin' Away won two more Grammy's with awards for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male Jazz Vocalist.
In 1992, after touring the globe for nearly two years, Jarreau returned to the studio to produce Heaven and Earth for which he received his fifth Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance. He released Tenderness in 1994 with an all-star cast, including David Sanborn, Kathleen Battle, Joe Sample and Steve Gadd.
In 1996, Jarreau began a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of Teen Angel in the hit musical Grease. Other acting credits include appearances on New York Undercover and Touched By An Angel.
In 1996, the Best of Al Jarreau compilation was released on Warner Bros., featuring Jarreau's career hits, Moonlighting, We're in This Love Together, Boogie Down and Roof Garden, as well as two new tracks written by George Duke.
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