What can I say about Al Jarreau that everyone hasn't already said before. The voice of an angel. The smile that lights up the room. The heart of gold! Mr. Jarreau was kind enough to come to Seattle for a benefit performance in honor of Holy Rosary School in celebration of Black History Month. He talked about visiting the children at the school earlier in the day and several of those children were at the concert as well. I could really see a connection between the children and Mr. Jarreau. He took the time to talk with some of them after the show and his pleasure at spending time with the children was written all over his face, and the children enjoyed him as well.
But before I talk about Mr. Jarreau's performance, I must mention the fabulous opening act, the Morning Star Choir from Los Angeles. They are a wonderful group of gospel singers, each with a rich voice on their own, but blended together, they were magnificent. The soloists were talented, powerful, uplifting and moving, and I enjoyed their performance very much.
Mr. Jarreau's performance started with an (almost) acapella version of "Route 66," with his signature scatting throughout the song. He had a little fun with the staff photographer, mugging for the camera and playing with the crowd. His main goal was that the crowd was having fun. He asked several times "Are you happy?" or "Are you having fun?" The crowd complied with loud cheers all around. Mr. Jarreau sang a few songs from his new CD, Accentuate the Positive, including the Emmy Lou Harris tune "Cold Duck," "Midnight Sun," and the title track, as well as many old favorites. He included probably one of his most famous songs, "Mornin'," always a crowd favorite. I was disappointed he didn't sing "We're in this Love Together," but with his long list of hits, it's hard to include them all. It was a very high energy and entertaining show. Mr. Jarreau is a master entertainer.
Like I said earlier, he talked a bit about seeing the children in the school that morning. The children had given a presentation on Black History. He was embarrassed, because these children knew more about Black History than HE did - and they were little white children! This was a very funny moment in the show. At one point a woman walked up and handed him a single white rose, and he held onto that rose for almost the rest of the show.
This was my third time seeing Mr. Jarreau, and my favorite of them all. He never seems to tire of entertaining, and his smile is contagious. If you need to put a smile on your face, check out Mr. Jarreau's tour schedule and see if he's coming to a town near you - then buy yourself a ticket!
- Barb White
Editor's note: During his last European tour Al Jarreau did a performance for Swiss AVO TV's
internet subsidiary, which they have made availabe to fans all over the world.
Streaming video of the entire concert is available here.