Legendary singer Al Jarreau passed away Feb. 12 in Los Angeles after being recently hospitalized for exhaustion.
The news was announced by Joe Gordon, Jarreau’s manager, The New York Times reported. Gordon said Jarreau was hospitalized at the end of January for exhaustion, and had canceled his tour dates on the advice of his doctors.
Jarreau started his career as a musician at the age of 30. His experimental and improvisational style quickly catapulted him to superstar status.
Jarreau did not limit himself to just jazz. His music included elements of pop, soul, Latin and gospel. He won a total of seven Grammys in both pop and R&B categories, Fader reported.
Jarreau also contributed to the Grammy award-winning children’s album, “In Harmony: A Sesame Street Record.”
Stephen Holden of The New York Times reviewed Jarreau’s concert at the Savoy in New York in 1981.
“Al Jarreau may be the most technically gifted singer working in jazz-fusion today,” Holden wrote. “Mr. Jarreau’s concert lacked the emotional range of great jazz. He is such a prodigious talent that the absence of even the slightest blues inflections kept his music from cutting deeply.”
Despite his critics, Jarreau kept his pride in his “jazz attitude,” which he described as “the idea of being open to each and every moment as a chance to create something different” while speaking to the Los Angeles Times.
“I try to be receptive, and to be listening, and to not be afraid to try something new,” Jarreau said.
Jarreau was born in Milwaukee on March 12, 1940, into a family of musicians. His father was a singer, and his mother played the piano at church. He was 76 years old.
Jarreau was previously hospitalized in 2010. He told the media that his health problems were not as serious as reports suggested, but joked that he appreciated the attention because it meant he was a celebrity.
“I figured, ‘yeah, maybe I have arrived,'” Jarreau said.
Sources: The New York Times, Fader / Photo credit: RX-Guru/Wikimedia Commons, SunofErat/Wikimedia Commons