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Al Jarreau The Birchmere

February 12, 2008 

It’s two days before Valentine’s Day, and romance is already in the air.  How appropriate, and how lucky for us, that the one and only Al Jarreau is in town promoting his latest release, Love Songs.  No one sings a love song like Al Jarreau.  Come to think of it, no one can sing anything like Al Jarreau.  He could sing my last will and testament, and make it sound wonderful.   

He’s playing the Birchmere, not a huge, cold, generic venue.  His style and personality are perfectly suited for the intimacy of the Birchmere.  Jarreau fans realize this and scoop up tickets quickly and the show sells out.  We hope this is not the first and last time we see Al Jarreau at the Birchmere.   

He brings with him a full band, the lovely Debbie Davis, his long-time background singer and duet partner, and a large bouquet of roses to hand out to members of the audience.  The night is set for songs of love and romance, messages of hope, and communion. 

Jarreau opened with a brief medley of love songs, including the classic “My Funny Valentine,” which he sung with Debbie.    “The Waters of March” was a light and playful duet, also with Debbie.   

Many of the audience members are like me; we’re huge Jarreau fans.  We’ve been listening to his music for years; we know it and we love it, so when he sings songs like, “We’re In This Love Together,” “After All,” and “Mornin’,” it’s not unusual for the audience to sing along with him.  As a matter of fact, he encourages it.  While I love hearing Al sing some of those classic songs, it’s always nice to hear some that you don’t get to hear too often when he’s in concert.  “Wait for the Magic” is one of those songs.   

It would not be an Al Jarreau concert if he didn’t do a little scatting.  From the Givin’ It Up CD, he scatted and vocalized his way through the George Benson classic “Breezin,” and the crowd favorite, “Take Five.”  He ended this fantastic show with “Cold Duck Time.” 

When you have someone like Al Jarreau performing at one of your favorite venues, you don’t ever want the show to end.  He is such a unique talent, you want to be selfish and have him sing all night, despite the fact that it’s cold out, the roads are icy, and you really should be home since it’s a “school night” anyway. (Besides, Mr. Jarreau needs his rest, too.)  He was nice enough to give us a two song encore.  Debbie joined him for the lovely ballad “Let It Rain Tonight.”  Then, we partied with Al and the band for “Rooftop Garden.”  Someone once said that Al Jarreau is a national treasure, and they were right.   It was a great night. 

- Mary Bentley

 

CD Reviews return to home page interviews CD Reviews Concert Reviews Perspectives - SmoothViews State of Mind Retrospectives - A Look Back at a Favorite CD On The Side - The Sidemen of Smooth Jazz On the Lighter Side - A Little Humor News - What's New in Smooth Jazz Links - A Guide to Smooth Jazz on the Web Contact Us About Us Website Design by Visible Image, LLC