- NAME: Al Jarreau
- OCCUPATION: Theater Actor, Television Actor, Songwriter, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: March 12, 1940 (Age: 74)
- Did You Know?: Al Jarreau is the first vocalist in music history to receive Grammy Awards in three separate categories (jazz, pop and R&B).
- EDUCATION: Ripon College, University of Iowa
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Full Name: Alwin Lopez Jarreau
- AKA: Alwin Jarreau
- AKA: Al Jarreau
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Al Jarreau is the quintessential contemporary jazz artist, and the first vocalist in music history to receive Grammy Awards in three separate categories (jazz, pop and R&B).
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Singer-songwriter Al Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 12, 1940. His first album was released in 1965. He has recorded more than two dozen albums over the past several decades, becoming the first vocalist in music history to receive Grammy Awards in three separate categories (jazz, pop and R&B). In 1996, the Best of Al Jarreau compilation was released, featuring his career hits.
"I have missed the boat over my career by not doing every second or third CD live, because things happen on stage that don't happen in the studio."
"I don't know where we got the notion that God wants us to suffer. Every living thing tends toward the good or we would have been gone a long time ago."
Famed singer-songwriter Al Jarreau was born Alwin Lopez Jarreau in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on March 12, 1940. The quintessential contemporary jazz artist, Jarreau is the first 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 past several 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 4. 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, Jarreau 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.
In addition to playing in small clubs along the West Coast, Al Jarreau branched out to New York City, 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 TV show Moonlighting.
In 1977, Jarreau embarked on his first world tour and won his first American Grammy Award, 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's 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 Grammys, 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.
profile name: Al Jarreau profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Soul Train Guests 110 people in this group
presented by Soul Train Guests
Jazz vocalists have made immeasurable contributions to the American songbook. Not only was Louis Armstrong renowned for his innovations as a trumpet soloist, but he also had a distinctive, gravelly voice that incorporated swing and humor. A host of other jazz singers enjoyed great popularity in the mid-20th century, including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Nina Simone. Several established careers in film and television as well. Contemporary artists like Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall continue to carry the musical baton.
Jazz Singers 18 people in this group
Browse our collection of African-American firsts in music and dance, including Al Jarreau, Cleo Laine, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Marian Anderson and DeFord Bailey. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
African-American Firsts: Music & Dance 14 people in this group