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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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Jazz - Released January 29, 2008 | Rhino

It's kind of surprising that Al Jarreau's catalog hasn't been treated with greater care. Best of Al Jarreau, released by Warner Bros. back in 1996, remains the best anthology of Jarreau's career, and the various Love Songs series put together by different labels have tended to exist merely as a way to take advantage of the Valentine's Day market (Sony BMG released a Love Songs comp for the Bay City Rollers, of all artists), but this particular Love Songs is more than something to fill the shelves, compiling many of Jarreau's biggest hits released from 1976 through 2006. Since it skips across 30 years, a number of favorites are bound to be missing -- "Your Precious Love," "Since I Fell for You," and "Moonlighting," for instance. Even so, this covers the basics rather well. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

Having broken through into the pop Top Ten albums with producer Jay Graydon and Breakin' Away, Jarreau had found his commercial groove, and it was potent enough to sustain him at least through the eponymously titled follow-up album. Again, strong, often self-co-composed material, and catchy, radio-friendly arrangements with lots of synthesizers would be the strong suit of this album, front-loaded by two large-scale R&B hits, the cheery "Mornin'" and the footstomping "Boogie Down," that would be part of his concert repertoire forever more ("Save Me" is also in their league). The backing comes from a coterie of L.A. pros who kick in more energy than what one would normally expect; it must be the material that fired 'em up. In other words, this is a really good R&B album, almost a great one, with the one caveat being that Jarreau's unique vocal abilities aren't remotely challenged; this could conceivably have been cut by almost any skilled R&B singer. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released September 29, 2009 | Rhino

Vocalist Al Jarreau is one of the most successful singers in history. He has scored hits on Billboard's Jazz, R&B, Adult Contemporary, and Contemporary Jazz charts. He's won multiple Grammys and sold millions of records. Rhino has assembled 15 tracks that represent his long career with Warner Brothers and even cross-licensed a couple from Universal's GRP and Verve imprints. In addition to the 15 career-spanning cuts ranging roughly from 1975 to 1988 with a couple of tunes thrown in from the current decade, there is a new song entitled "Excellent Adventure," produced by the team of Amhir "?uestlove" Thompson and James Poyser, the same pair that produced Al Green's successful Lay It Down. Fiona Frawley assembled this compilation and did a stellar job, including not only all the chart hits, but those that truly represent Jarreau's range as a singer and composer. There is an edited version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" here from his successful 1977 album Look to the Rainbow LP, as well as "We Got By," from his self-titled debut album. There are three cuts from 1981's multi-platinum Breaking Away, and his monster theme from the television series Moonlighting. But it's the inclusion of several tracks such as Chick Corea's "Spain," from 1980's This Time album, and Eddie Harris's "Cold Duck," from his 2004 set Accentuate the Positive that make this a special compilation -- neither cut made the charts, but both are nonetheless representative, even signature performances in Jarreau's recording career. Fans who already have comps can ditch them for this, and those who are curious would do well to actually begin their education with The Very Best Of: An Excellent Adventure. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

Rather than do a strictly studio or strictly live album next, Jarreau recorded a "live in the studio" affair before an invited audience -- and this time he would not be bothered with the latest new mediocre R&B tunes. Spreading his net from the Gershwins through Lennon-McCartney to Jorge Ben, Elton John and himself, Jarreau assembled a core band that includes vets like Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, the late Eric Gale, and producer Marcus Miller and turned himself loose on the songs with a freedom that hasn't been heard extensively on his records since the '70s. As then, he transplants standards of whatever school into his own cross-genre idiom, squeezing his tone through the syllables and flashing his speed scatting. He produces some lovingly drawn-out reprises of "She's Leaving Home" and "We Got By," a semi-funk "Summertime" with echoes of Gil Evans in the horns, and fits into the rapid-fire "Mas Que Nada" in the Brazilian manner-born. Opera diva Kathleen Battle's breathless coloratura soprano makes for an odd, unsettling contrast with Jarreau's snake-like wanderings in "My Favorite Things" (the only track recorded at a separate session in New York; the others were cut in L.A.); Michael Brecker's tenor sax adds a third alien voice to the mix. Those who were first drawn to Jarreau from his live and recorded performances of the mid-'70s are going to like this CD -- and this time, the new material ("Wait for the Magic," "Dinosaur") is not only interesting and thought-provoking, it makes good use of Jarreau's voice. As with Live In London, a home video of the sessions is available, but contains only ten tracks. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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R&B - Released September 29, 2008 | Rhino

If ever there was a singer suited for a holiday album it was Al Jarreau, whose friendly, honeyed croon always felt warm and welcoming. Those traits are evident on his 2008 seasonal album Christmas but so are his scatting roots, perhaps a little bit too much so for this to be the kind of soothing soundtrack to a Christmas party that it might initially seem to be, particularly as the first section of the album is loaded with just a little bit too much syncopation and swing. As Christmas rolls on, things settle down into a smooth quiet storm groove, never pushing too hard on either the vocal or arrangement front, which is a bit of a relief after the slightly overcooked first half. This back-end -- containing a silken "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a light "The Little Christmas Tree" and a mildly funky "Gloria in Excelsis" -- is what Jarreau fans would hope, even expect, from an Al Jarreau Christmas album and it's the reason to give this a seasonal spin. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo