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Interview:
Al Jarreau Keeping Busy, Sultry
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Age is hardly slowing Al Jarreau.

He may be 69, but the celebrated jazz and R&B singer — who’s won Grammy Awards in each of the last four decades — is both prolific and productive. In fact, he’s released five albums in the last three years, including a “Christmas” collection, a “Love Songs” project, a pair of live albums and this year’s “The Very Best of Al Jarreau: An Excellent Adventure.”

“We’re pretty busy,” notes the Milwaukee-born Jarreau, best known for his hit version of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” as well as the pop-charting “Mornin’ ” and his 1987 theme for the TV show “Moonlighting.”

“I’m one of those guys who’s always going, ‘Thank you, God’ for this and ‘Thank you, God’ for that. I’ve got a selfstarting engine that knows what it’s all about and starts up pretty good. It’s just icing on the cake to have all these projects going on.”

The current “Sultry Soul Tour” is giving Jarreau a chance to showcase tracks from 2008’s “Love Songs,” although he’s quick to explain that they’re not just about carnal kinds of romance.

“It is a very important emotion and state of being — that notion to provide and protect and to care for someone,” Jarreau says. “I think it’s part and parcel and one of the major aspects of our wiring and makeup as human beings that we have these feelings ... for not only the opposite sex but for friends and neighbors and community and country.

“So when we lean in that direction in the music, the music speaks about that particular connection that we feel, that emotion that we feel and that sentiment. I think we’re probably exercising something we can’t quite help, that’s just ... natural.”



“The Sultry Soul Tour” with Al Jarreau, Rachelle Ferrell and Phil Perry, plays at 7 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 13) at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway. Tickets are $45-75. Call (313) 961-3500 or visit www.motopera.org.

Web Site: www.motopera.org

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