Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau (April 12, 1940 — Feb. 12, 2017) was an American soul and jazz singer from Milwaukee.

Al was born Alwyn Lopez Jarreau on April 12, 1940, in Milwaukee, Wisc., the fifth of six children. Their father was a Seventh-day Adventist Church minister and their mother played church piano. The family sang together at church concerts.

Jarreau attended Ripon College, where he sang in the doo wop act The Indigos. He earned a B.S. in psychology at Ripon and a master’s in vocational rehabilitation at the University of Iowa. In 1964, he cut the single “Shake Up” (b/w “Room-Boom“) on local small-press Raynard.

He then moved to San Francisco and worked as a rehabilitation counselor. At night, he sang in a jazz trio headed by George Duke. In 1967, Jarreau formed a duo with guitarist Ray Martinez, which became the main attraction at the night spot Gatsby’s in Sausalito. Emboldened by these successes, he decided to become a full-time singer. He gigged with Martinez on the Hollywood club circuit and made television appearances on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, and Dinah!

In 1972, his composition “Could You Believe In a Dream” was recorded by LA soul-funksters Free Movement on their album I’ve Found Someone of My Own. Jarreau himself sang on the tracks “Soul Saga (Song of the Buffalo Soldier)” (with Jim Gilstrap) and “If I Ever Lose This Heaven” (with Leon Ware and Minnie Riperton) on the 1974 album Body Heat by Quincy Jones. The following year, Jarreau signed to Warner Bros. as a solo artist.


  • We Got By (1975)
  • Glow (1976)
  • Look to the Rainbow (live, 1977)
  • All Fly Home (1978)
  • This Time (1980)
  • Breakin’ Away (1981)
  • Jarreau (1983)
  • High Crime (1984)
  • Replay (1985)
  • In London (live, 1985)
  • L Is for Lover (1986)
  • Heart’s Horizon (1988)
  • Heaven and Earth (1992)


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