Jazz Gallery
Soul / Gospel & World gallery
Essential Listening
Tributes
Gig Guide / News
Opinion / Music Talk
The Hi Fi Experience
Related services
Related Sites & Info
Sales
Staff Profiles
Guest Feedback
Contact M V Studio
Back to Home Page

 

 

 

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau & George Benson
@ St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Pigeon Island
12 May 2007

Click an image to enlarge.

The beauty and charm of Pigeon Island during the day, or night, never fails to excite the senses. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Caribbean Sea on the other, delicately lit palm trees gently kissing the sky, combined with the anticipation of a tremendous musical experience is surely enough to warm the coolest hearts.

Al Jarreau biography

Al Jarreau began singing and harmonising with his brothers from the tender age of 4. A young Jarreau would perform solo at many local events in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jarreau enrolled at Ripon College in Wisconsin and continued singing for fun. He performed at local gigs at weekends and during holidays with a group named The Indigos. Jarreau graduated with a Bachelor Of Science degree in Psychology and moved on to the University of Lowa. Here he earned is Master’s Degree in Vocational Rehabilitation. With qualifications in hand, Jarreau relocated to San Francisco to begin a career in rehabilitation counselling.

As well as working as rehabilitation counsellor during the 1960’s, Jarreau found time to sing at a small jazz club with a trio led by keyboard master George Duke. It would not be long before Jarreau’s voice began to win fans and gain attention from other musicians. He would also realise that singing would be ‘his life’.

After relocating to Los Angeles in the late 60’s, Jarreau performed in nightspots such as Dino’s, the Bitter End West and the Troubador. He gained national television exposure with celebrities such as Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, David Frost, Mike Douglas, among others.

In 1975, Jarreau signed to Warner Brothers after being spotted by talent scouts while performing at the Ba Bla Café in Los Angeles. His debut album “We Got By” was released the same year to critical acclaim. Jarreau was awarded a German Grammy for Best New International Soloist. A second German Grammy came his way with the release of his follow-up album “Glow” released in 1976.

1977 would see Jarreau embark on his first world tour. The double live album “Look To The Rainbow” featuring selected cuts from the tour was released. Jarreau would be awarded his first American Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance the same year.

In 1978, Jarreau’s fourth album “All Fly Home” was greeted with further acclaim, a wider audience and a second American Grammy for Best Jazz vocalist. This album also spawned the million selling “Breakin’ Away” and two Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male vocalist. His follow up albums “Jarreau” and “High Crime” released in 1983 spawned a string of R&B and pop hits further cementing his international appeal at every level. By 1987 Jarreau’s vocals could be heard on a weekly basis with the theme song for the hit television series Moonlighting.

Jarreau further proved his versatility in the mid 90’s by accepting a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of Teen Angel in the musical Grease. He also appeared on New York Undercover, Touched By An Angel and a national McDonald’s commercial with R&B songstress Vesta Williams.

On March 6, 2001 Jarreau was honoured with a star on the “Hollywood Walk Of Fame”.

George Benson biography

“George Benson is undeniably one of the consummate artists of our time and producing music of his calibre is all that any producer can ask for…”
Quincy Jones

George Benson began his professional career singing, dancing and playing the ukulele in nightclubs at the tender age of eight. At age seventeen he formed a rock band using a guitar made by his stepfather. As Benson was exposed to music by Charlie Parker, Montgomery and Christian, his interest in jazz came as no surprise to many. In 1962 a teenaged Benson joined Brother Jack McDuff’s band. By 1965 Benson formed his own group and was discovered by talent scout John Hammond. Benson would record two critically acclaimed albums of the soul-jazz and hard bop genre for Columbia as well as being included on recording sessions with others such as Miles Davis’ “Miles in the sky”. Benson switched to Verve records in 1967, and shortly after the death of Montgomery in June 1968, producer Creed Taylor began recording Benson with larger ensembles on A&M and big groups and all-star combos on CTI between 1971-1976. By this time Benson’s own ideas and creativity had begun to grow. He explains:

“I’d been screaming about my guitar sound for years, and they didn’t want to hear about it. I wanted to use my band in the studio, just get comfortable and test out some stuff. But it was like pulling teeth. The first time I tried to sing along with my guitar, everybody in the studio booed. They said that it wouldn’t work. When I got with Tommy Lipuma (Warner Brothers) all that changed. He said ‘Sure, let’s go with some vocals, see where we get.’ And you know what happened after that.”

The album Breezin’ became the first jazz record to obtain platinum sales status, with the sole vocal track “This Masquerade” receiving substantial attention from commercial radio. Benson had certainly reached a larger audience, but breaking new ground was not well received by many purists:

“I guess that’s the biggest crime I’ve made as far as jazz lovers go,” offers Benson. “They don’t always like to see you play for the general public. They want to be catered to. But I’ve tried that approach and it doesn’t work for me. Nobody can stay one way for 30 years. I’ve tried to let my experience show itself. You learn, you change. The door opened and I walked through it.”

Benson’s commercial successes continued throughout the 1980’s, the highlight being the Quincy Jones produced smash “Give Me The Night”. But as the 80’s drew to a close questions were mounting about Benson’s seemingly continued quest for greater commercial success (if possible). Benson silenced these critics with the release of his standards album “Tenderly” in 1989 and the swinging “Big Boss Band” album with the Basie band in 1990. Both albums would see the return of Benson’s guitar to the forefront of many compositions.

Benson followed Tommy Lipuma to the GRP label in the mid-‘90s. The two had formed a successful commercial bond that they both wanted to sustain. In 1996, GRP released the acclaimed cotemporary jazz album “That’s Right”.

George Benson is an eight-time Grammy Award winner who just keeps going. He is a diverse and unpredictable artist who has influenced musicians from varying genres.
Benson’s acclaim both commercially and within the critical Jazz world continues. He continues to release beautifully crafted material and sell out concerts around the globe.

Musicians:
Al Jarreau – vocals
George Benson – vocals / guitar

Robin Francis
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.

Pigeon Island Patrons Pigeon Island Patrons

Pigeon Island Patrons

Pigeon Island Patrons Pigeon Island Patrons

 

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau & George Benson

George Benson & Al Jarreau

George Benson

George Benson

George Benson

George Benson


Recommended
Listening

 

Accentuate The Positive All I Got Hearts Horizon All Fly Home
Al Jarreau - Breakin' Away Al Jarreau - Heaven And Earth Al Jarreau - High Crime Al Jarreau - Jarreau
Al Jarreau - L Is For Lover Al Jarreau - Look to the Rainbow Al Jarreau - We Got By Al Jarreau - Tomorrow Today
Al Jarreau - This Time Al Jarreau - The best Of A Twist Of Jobim - Various artists (including Al Jarreau Al Jarreau - Live in London
Al Jarreau - Tenderness George Benson & Al Jarreau - Givin' it up George Benson - Absolute Benson George Benson - That's Right
George Benson - While the city  sleeps George Benson - In Your Eyes George Benson - 20/20 George Benson / Earl Klugh - Collaboration -
George Benson - Give Me The Night George Benson - Breezin' George Benson - Weekend  in LA George Benson - In Flight
George Benson - The Instrumentals George Benson - Bad Benson George Benson - Body Talk George Benson - Big Boss Band
George Benson - Beyond the Blue Horizon George Benson - Collection George Benson - Cookbook George Benson - Giblet Gravy
George Benson / Lonnie Smith /  Joe Lovano - Afrodesia George Benson - White Rabbit George Benson - It's Uptown George Benson - The Other Side of Abbey Road
George Benson - Jazz Masters 21 George Benson - The New Boss Guitar George Benson - Standing Together George Benson - In Concert @ Carnegie Hall

 

Further
Recommended
Veiwing

Click George Benson's image to see him at the Royal Albert Halll (London Blues Festival 2012)...
Click Al Jarreau's image to see him at the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2011...
George Benson appeared on stage with Steven Seagal at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival 2007...

George Benson @ the Royal Albert Hall (Click to go to his page) Al Jarreau @ the Royal Festival Hall, London in 2011 (Click to go to his page) Steven Seagal on stage with George Benson  and many more! (Click to go to his page)

Go back to the St. Lucia Jazz Festival 2007 home page.

 Go back to the jazz gallery.

[ Top ]