More than just a great singer, Al Jarreau was a vessel of pure emotion

The Artistry of… Al Jarreau

Great singers are great storytellers. Al Jarreau was an anomaly — truly a human musical instrument. His voice became more than what he sang with. He seemed to effortlessly express and share emotion. The experience of hearing him perform was like a come-to-life imagined scenario, one where he could fantastically climb inside a song and become it, and turn it into a new living thing with a sweetness and inviting character you wanted to be, and needed to be, around.

His artistry was a magical mixed bag of elements all golden and charmed: charisma, groove, spirituality, energy. He was mesmerizing with an uncanny ability to always be intimately communicating with the listener.

His roots were deep in the African-American church tradition, with parents who were actively involved with spiritual music. You cannot come from that deeply steeped tradition and not be honest and genuine, and Jarreau did it all with engaging modesty.


The Artistry of… airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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