Alwyn Lopez "Al" Jarreau (born March 12, 1940) is an American singer. A seven-time Grammy Award winner, he is the only vocalist in history to win in three separate categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. He won the aforementioned Grammys within a span of four consecutive decades — the '70s, '80s, '90s and '00s.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of a vicar, Jarreau's first singing experiences were in a church choir. He attended Ripon College, where he also sang non-professionally with a group called the Indigos, and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor Of Science degree in Psychology. He went on to earn a master's degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa and worked as a rehabilitation counselor in San Francisco while also performing evenings with a jazz trio headed by George Duke.
In 1967, he joined forces with acoustic guitarist Julio Martinez. The duo became the star attraction at a small Sausalito night club called Gatsby's. This success contributed to Jarreau's decision to make professional singing his life and fulltime career.
In 1969, Jarreau and Martinez headed south, where Jarreau appeared in such Los Angeles hot spots as Dino's, the Troubadour and Bitter End West. Television exposure came from Johnny Carson, Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and David Frost, while he expanded his nightclub appearances to include performing at The Improv between the acts of such rising-star comics as Bette Midler, Jimmie Walker, and John Belushi, among others.
In 1975, Jarreau was working with pianist Tom Canning when he was spotted by Warner Bros. Records and soon thereafter released his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By, which catapulted him to international fame and garnered him a German Grammy Award. A second German Grammy would follow with the release of his second album, Glow.
One of Jarreau's most commercially and artistically successful albums is Breakin' Away (1981), which includes the hit song "We're in This Love Together." He wrote and performed the Grammy-nominated theme to the 1980s American television show Moonlighting. Among other things, he is well-known for his scat singing and the ability to imitate conventional guitar, bass and percussive instrumentation. He was also a featured vocalist on USA for Africa's "We Are the World" in which he sang the line, "...and so we all must lend a helping hand."
In 2003 Jarreau and conductor Larry Baird collaborated together doing symphony shows around the United States, with Baird arranging additional orchestral material for Jarreau's shows.
He has toured and performed with numerous musicians, including Joe Sample, Kathleen Battle, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Rick Braun and George Benson. He also performed the role of the Teen Angel in a 1996 Broadway production of Grease. On March 6, 2001 he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located at 7083 Hollywood Boulevard on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.
Al Jarreau appeared in a duet with American Idol finalist Paris Bennett during the Season 5 finale and on Celebrity Duets singing with actor Cheech Marin.