Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: The Acrobat of Scat

Milwaukee native Al Jarreau died this week at the age of 76.

The singer’s father was a minster who also sang, and his mother was a piano teacher and accompanist to the church choir. Jarreau started singing in the choir at the age of four. He attended Lincoln High School in Milwaukee and Ripon College, got a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation at the University of Iowa, then moved to San Francisco to become a rehabilitation counselor.

Music would continue to be a part of Jarreau’s life. During his spare time he performed with famed pianist George Duke. After forming a duo with guitarist Julio Martinez the singer decided in 1968 that music would be his full-time occupation.

Then it was on to Los Angeles, and a move to New York got Jarreau TV appearances on Johnny Carson and David Frost. Jarreau’s debut album came in 1975. He won seven Grammy Awards, three of them in different vocal categories – jazz, pop and R&B.

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Reviews were often mixed. Pop enthusiasts thought Jarreau was too jazzy and jazz lovers considered him too commercial. The critics never bothered Jarreau.

“Moonlighting” was a hit TV show in the 1980’s. Model Maddie Hayes, played by Cybill Shepherd was betrayed by her investment adviser who flew with all her money to South-America.  Maddie was left with her house and a run-down detective-agency “City Angels” that she renamed “Blue Moon.” The agency’s lone detective, David Addison, played by Bruce Willis convinces her to join the agency as the new boss. Their odd relationship had viewers wondering throughout the series if they would become lovers or not.

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Al Jarreau wrote and sang the theme song.

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A “Moonlighting TV Soundtrack” album was released featuring a remake of a golden oldie.
Jarreau would record it again for this album.

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported The Wisconsin Foundation for School Music honored Jarreau with a Lifetime Achievement Award last October, and created an endowment in his name, to provide financial assistance to Milwaukee Public Schools students in need to participate in music programs. Donations can be made at foundation4schoolmusic.org.

One thought on “Friday Night Forgotten Oldie: The Acrobat of Scat

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (02/20/17) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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