Grammy-Winning Jazz Singer Al Jarreau Dies at 76

Al Jarreau
Elena Aquila/REX/Shutterstock

Singer Al Jarreau, a multiple Grammy winner known for his smooth voice and scat singing skills on  jazz and R&B songs like “Breakin’ Away,” died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 76.

He had been hospitalized recently and cancelled his upcoming tour dates.

statement on his website said in part, “He will be missed. His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen.”

The only vocalist to win Grammys in the jazz, pop, and  R&B categories, his hit songs included “We’re in This Love Together,” “After All,” “Boogie Down,” “Never Givin’ Up,” and the theme song to the TV series “Moonlighting,” for which he wrote the lyrics.

Born in Milwaukee, he was the son of a minister and started out singing in the church choir. He received a masters degree in psychology and worked as a social worker before moving to Los Angeles to become a singer.

Jarreau’s first attention came for his 1975 album “We Got By” and follow-ups “Glow” and “Look to the Rainbow.” He entered the Top Ten with “Breakin’ Away.” His hit theme to “Moonlighting” came in 1987. In 1998, Jarreau found a fresh burst of acclaim after signing to Verve/GRP in 1998, where he reunited with producer Tommy LiPuma. His 2006 album “Givin’ It Up,” recorded with George Benson, was nominated for three Grammys. He also released a holiday album, “Christmas” in 2008.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and son Ryan.

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    1. Devlon says:

      I was so disappointed and sad when I heard the news about Al Jarreau! It was a hurting thing, I saw and met him in person at is concert in Atlanta, GA. It always a pleasure listen to his music especially live! I thank God for the opportunity to hear him sing my favorite songs especially Roof Garden! I love that song and the video! My heart was saddened when I heard about his death! I remember the conversation we had in Atlanta! He was a pioneer to taking jazz to another level! There will never be another Al Jarreau! He had a vibe that was all his own! Nothing, like him in the music industry and there never will be! I am so glad I was able to see him perform 2-3 times in my life! Roof Garden video was the bomb! Rest in peace innovator of jazz with a twist of R&B!

    2. katrina says:

      Al jarreau was the ambassador of jazz my prayer go out to his family and friends he will be sorely missed remember were in this love together

    3. Gina Agur says:

      Thank you for all the beauty you gifted us through your music and your way of life. My sincerest condolences to his family and many fans worldwide.

    4. Joane Hanton says:

      Mr. Al Jarreau I have always loved your music may you rest in peace you did not go into the good night gently .

    5. Stacyann says:

      His sultry sweet style always turned me into a huge happy smile R.I.P. Mr AL Jarreau♡♡

    6. Stacyann says:

      His sultry sweet style always turned me into a huge happy smile R.I.P.♡

    7. wishinwell says:

      Sad news-what a singer, brought joy, condolences to his family.

    8. Michelle says:

      Amazing man, artist. Rest in power.

    9. Cow Girl Diva says:

      R.I.P. Mr.Jarreau…Your warm, silky voice brought us great joy and healing…..What a fantastic instrument God gave you….THANK YOU for sharing it with us…..!!

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