AL JARREAU

When I was a little girl, I was very attracted to jazz. To be honest, I enjoyed listening to all kinds of music and could find the merit and melody in all sounds, but I really found an affinity with all kinds of jazz from swing to bebop and smooth contemporary artists. And I used to love listening all kinds of artists from several eras.

Though my mother wasn’t a musician, she really enjoyed listening to music and she used to sing to me when I was little. We used to watch live music programs as well. One of my favorite live shows was Al Jarreau. He had a vocal flexibility that was hard to match. And he seemed like such a fun person on stage. There was one year that we recorded an Al Jarreau special and watched repeatedly. I literally lost count of how many times we watched that show- I’m guessing maybe 30 or 40 times at least. I memorized every note and nuance of his performance. One day I woke up and realized that I had seen that show so many times that it was embedded deeply in my gut. I had literally been dreaming about Al Jarreau’s concert. When I mentioned it to my mom, she said that she had been dreaming about it as well. It was one of those funny shared experiences that we would laugh about every so often.

Last week, as I scrolled through my facebook timeline, I read that Mr Jarreau was in the hospital and that they were praying for him to get better. I sent up a little prayer and expected to hear that he was recovering. The next day, husband came in and casually mentioned that he had died. I freaked out. It was like I had lost a family member. I’ve noticed feeling like that a lot, particularly in 2016 when we lost so many icons. I guess I come from a generation who has straddled a world between being analog and digital. We have been allowed to be so connected to the artists we love that when we lose them, it feels like a personal loss.

I think I also dreamed that some day I might actually get to see him perform live. I thought there was time.

Every so often we get reminders that life isn’t a dress rehearsal. This was one of mine. Rest is peace Mr Jarreau. Heaven must be swinging.

Here is one of my favorite songs. Enjoy:

 

photo by david corio originally published in New York Times

CARMEN BROWNE

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