Six time Grammy winner Al Jarreau passed away today at the age of 76. The following message was posted on his official website:
Al Jarreau passed away this morning, February 12, 2017. He was in the hospital, kept comfortable by his wife, son, and a few family and close friends. He will be missed. The family asks that no flowers or gifts are sent. Instead, please consider a contribution to the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, a wonderful organization which supports music opportunities, teachers, and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. Link to the donation Page: http://foundation4schoolmusic.org/lifetime-achievement-award/al-jarreau/. Even if you do not plan to contribute, please visit that page and give yourself a minute to watch a beautiful tribute video which was produced by Wisconsin Public Television. A few days ago, I was asked to describe Al to someone who knew of his success, but did not know him as a person. I responded with this: His 2nd priority in life was music. There was no 3rd. His 1st priority, far ahead of the other, was healing or comforting anyone in need. Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest. He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before. Song was just his tool for making that happen. A few things I think Al would want mentioned right now: To Al's wife, son, sister, brothers and family: You allowed Al to share himself with the world. He was grateful that you gave him that gift. He knew it was difficult, and regretted that more than he could explain. Please know that your gift was to us, too, and that we are also grateful. To everyone who attended his concerts and listened to his albums: He needed you, and you were always there for him, for more than 50 years. He was thankful for you every day and tried to show that to each of you. To his band, and to the many, many talented musicians, writers, composers, and arrangers who played and collaborated with him over the years: You enabled, supported and thrilled him. He treasured you, and considered you brilliant. He loved sharing the stage with you, and was honored that you shared it with him. To each promoter, presenter and producer: Thank you for your faith in him. Your commitment to Al was both essential and endless, and he never took you for granted. To his agents, managers, crew, counselors, publicists, and journalists who supported his work, and also to all of the airline, hotel, venue and other people who hosted him like royalty: He noticed every bit of the dedication and effort that you unselfishly provided without limits. And, he appreciated you completely. To young people everywhere, especially the musicians he was grateful to meet at school workshops, musical competitions, residencies, and at concerts: From you, Al asks a favor. Please find any artistic thing that you can do with passion, and do it. With art in your life, you will be a better family member, neighbor, friend, and citizen. Finally, to Al Jarreau, from all of us: Thank you. You completed your ministry in a gracious way. Godspeed... you've earned it.