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Interview:
Al Jarreau headlines Trenton`s Jazz on the River
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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At 74, and nearing the 50th anniversary of his musical career, Al Jarreau says he's nothing but grateful for his ability to go around the world and sing his particular blend of jazz, R&B and pop styles.

"It was part of a dream for me to have an audience that would be beyond my neighborhood in Milwaukee -- yeah, the dream goes back that far," explains Jarreau, who closes Trenton's Jazz on the River festival at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. "I hoped, 'Maybe I'll have an audience that speaks a different language than I do to order breakfast but that speaks music language, and we'll communication and we'll talk and we'll share emotions.

"So, yeah, that's part of the dreamscape coming true, man. We'll be in Brazil the second time in 10 months coming up here soon, and we've got a run to Japan for the second time inside a year. That's just wonderful stuff, so there's still a lot of work to do."

Jarreau's latest work is "My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke," Jarreau's personal tribute to the keyboardist and producer who passed away last year. The two worked together on many projects and co-wrote Jarreau's 1982 hit "Roof Garden," but Jarreau confesses the prospect of honoring Duke "scared the crap out of me," though he rose to the challenge.

"I had to say 'yes,' but It's not just a simple notion of, 'Oh, I think I'll do a so-and-so song,' " explains Jarreau, who duets on the set with Gerald Albright, Dianne Reeves, Lalah Hathaway, Dr. John and others. "No, you set out to do a celebration or a tribute record of an immense musical gift to this sector of the universe like George Duke...you gotta be crazy!

"It stretched me. I think it was good to sing in different ways and do some real R&B performances and try other things that were part of what (Duke) did. It's a real nice venture for me."

19th Annual Jazz on the River featuring Al Jarreau, the Ohio Players, Harvey Mason and more

1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2-3

Elizabeth Lake Park, 4461 Elizabeth Drive, Trenton

Admission is free. A $5 donation is suggested for on-site parking.

Call 734-261-1990 or visit www.zonjic.com

Web Site: www.zonjic.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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