Happy Birthday: Al Jarreau
Today we celebrate the birthday of the late Al Jarreau, the seven-time Grammy award winning vocalist and musician who died last year at the age of 76. To commemorate the occasion, weâve got the official Jarreau playlist here and ready for your listening enjoyment, but weâve also culled five songs by other artists to which Jarreau contributed.
1. Quincy Jones featuring Minnie Riperton and Leon Ware, âIf I Ever Lose This Heavenâ (1974): This minor hit from Jonesâs BODY HEAT album is notable for the vocal performances by Riperton and Ware, both of whom are credited vocalists on the track. Jarreau, however, has a slightly different credit: heâs listed as having contributed âEffects [Vocal],â just as he is on the albumâs second track, âSoul Saga (Song of the Buffalo Soldier).â In other words, you can hear him if youâre listening closely, but only then.
2. Chick Corea, âHot News Bluesâ (1978): When the All Music Guide referred to 1978 as being an âalmost impossibly active yearâ for Chick Corea, they werenât exaggerating. During the course of the year, he released three studio albums (THE MAD HATTER, SECRET AGENT, and FRIENDS) and participated in two live albums (AN EVENING WITH HERBIE HANCOCK & CHICK COREA and RTF LIVE). It was on the aforementioned SECRET AGENT when he teamed with Jarreau for this track, on which Jarreau contributed both the vocals and the lyrics heâs vocalizing.
3. Flora Purim, CARRY ON (1979): Speaking of RTF, a.k.a. Return to Forever, Purim â âThe Queen of Brazilian Jazzâ â is an icon in her native Brazil, having been named to the Order of Rio Branco in September 2002, but her success in the States has been relatively limited. Itâs surprising that this duet with Jarreau didnât change her fortunes, however, as it has the feel of a real dance-floor filler.
4. Sister Sledge, âBet Cha Say That To All The Girlsâ (1983): The title track to Sister Sledgeâs seventh studio album is so much fun that itâs a wonder it never scored a release as a single, particularly given how much fun Jarreau sounds like heâs having as he plays the rapping playboy trying to chat up the Sledge sisters.
5. Shakatak, âDay by Dayâ (1985): This jazz-funk band out of Great Britain found considerable UK chart success in the â80s, scoring two top-10 hits (âNight Birdsâ and âDown on the Streetâ), along with more than two dozen other songs making their way to various spots on the UK Singles chart. They only did this one-off single with Jarreau, though, and thatâs a shame, because it was a lot of fun.