By Jim Johnson

Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau died Sunday at the age 76.

  • Al Jarreau was born in Milwaukee on March 12th, 1940.
  • The first of his 23 albums came out in 1965.
  • He won six Grammys in jazz, pop and R&B categories.
  • Jarreau’s biggest hit may have been the theme to the sitcom Moonlighting.
  • Just last week, he’d announced his retirement from performing.

Born Alwyn Lopez Jarreau in Milwaukee on March 12th, 1940, Jarreau started out in a church choir when he was four years old. He continued singing as a member of The Indigos while he attended Ripon College in Wisconsin. After completing a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation at the University of Iowa, Jarreau released his first “pure jazz” album, 1965, titled after the year it came out.

But Jarreau took a decade-long hiatus from recording, until 1975’s We Got By. He went on to put out 21 more albums over the next four decades, producing the hits “We’re in This Love Together,” “Mornin’,” “So Good” and “Breakin’ Away.” But he achieved his biggest success with the theme to the Cybil Shepherd – Bruce Willissitcom Moonlighting.

Jarreau was just the second vocalist in history to win six Grammys in three separate categories (jazz, pop and R&B), after Michael Jackson. He also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001.

Al Jarreau leaves behind his wife, Susan Player, and his son Ryan.

Jarreau had recently been hospitalized for exhaustion. Just a few days ago, with his recovery stalled, he announced his retirement from concert work.

In a statement to Ebony magazine, Jarreau’s manager asked that contributions in his memory be made to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, which supports music opportunities, teachers and scholarships for students in Al’s hometown of Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin.

There will be no public funeral, only a small private service for immediate family.


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