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date: 05 December 2019

Jarreau, Al(vin)locked

  • J. Bradford Robinson

Extract

(b Milwaukee, March 12, 1940; d Los Angeles, Feb 12, 2017). American singer. He earned an MA in psychology at the University of Iowa and worked as a counselor in San Francisco in the late 1960s. After achieving success singing in local clubs he took up music full-time, and released his first album in 1975. The following year he toured Europe, where he acquired a large following. Jarreau developed his style from the bop school of Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert, which he extended with great refinement and virtuosity and adapted to a fusion of jazz and soul music. Using a nasal, vibratoless voice with superb intonation, he commanded a wide range and a large repertory of ancillary expressive sounds such as groans, tongue-clicks, and gasps; in scat singing he made use of nonsense syllables that range from those conventionally associated with bop to mock-oriental and mock-Arabic sounds. Although his recordings sometimes reveal a commercial bent, particularly in his own compositions, his live performances, such as ...

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Jazz Forum [international edition]