Jazz and R&B singer Al Jarreau passed away on 12 February at the age of 76, after a prolonged battle with ill health. He was being treated for fatigue in a Los Angeles hospital and recently announced that he was retiring from touring. The singer's publicist confirmed the news but did not reveal the cause of death.
The seven-time Grammy Award-winner had cancelled his remaining 2017 tour dates last week and was hospitalised for exhaustion. However, it was announced on his Facebook page that he had been "recovering slowly and steadily." "His son reports that he caught his dad singing 'Moonlighting' to one of the nurses the morning ... a very encouraging sign," said the post.
He passed away hours before Sunday's Grammy Awards, the most prestigious award for musicians, Reuters reported.
Here are 10 lesser-known facts about the jazz and pop star:
- Al Jarrea's original name was Alwin Lopez Jarreau and he was born into a musical family. His father was a Seventh-day Adventist Church minister and singer and his mother, a church pianist.
- He was introduced to music at a very young age and he, along with his parents and five siblings, used to sing in church concerts and in benefits.
- Since then he never gave up singing. He used to sing with a group called the Indigos during his college days and went ahead to join a jazz trio headed by George Duke when he was doing his master's degree from the University of Iowa.
- However, he decided to make professional singing his full-time career only after he and Julio Martinez, an acoustic guitarist, became popular by performing in a small Sausalito night club.
- In 1975, he came to the notice of Warner Bros. Records while working with pianist Tom Canning. On Valentine's Day 1976 he sang on the 13th episode of NBC's new Saturday Night Live.
- It was shortly after this venture that he released his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By, which fetched him his first Echo Award.
- Jarreau started touring and took a break from recording in the 1990s. He said in an interview with Jazz Review: "I was still touring, in fact, I toured more than I ever had in the past, so I kept in touch with my audience. I got my symphony program under way, which included my music and that of other people too, and I performed on the Broadway production of Grease. I was busier than ever! For the most part, I was doing what I have always done ... perform live. I was shopping for a record deal and was letting people know that there is a new album coming. I was just waiting for the right label (Verve), but I toured more than ever."
- Other than performing with stalwarts like Joe Sample, Chick Corea, Kathleen Battle, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Rick Braun, and George Benson, he also performed the role of the Teen Angel in a 1996 Broadway production of Grease.
- Jarreau received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 7083 Hollywood Boulevard on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue on 6 March 2001.
- In June 2012, he was diagnosed with pneumonia which prompted him to cancel several concerts in France. However, he fully recovered from the ailment and toured extensively till February 2017.