Al's Journal

Hello, everyone, and welcome to my page, where I can share with you all the goings on with me, as we travel around and bring the music to the people! Keep Listening!

Love, Al

A good piece from a good friend

Hi everyone,

Oh I’m just here sitting and thinking about stuff….Sometimes I come across radio shows, television programs, and articles that catch my eye because they have to do with the stuff of life. You know what I mean??!! Please go and catch up with Shannon West at Smooth Views. She’s a great journalist, writer, music lover, and citizen. Her writing and thinking echoes a lot of my own “stuff” about what’s happening here. I won’t try to summarize. Just trust me and have a fun read.

http://www.smoothviews.com/archives/perspectives/perspectivesAug12.htm

All the best,

Al


   - posted ON 05.18.15 AT 11:51 AM


Paris – International Jazz Day – 2015

Paris – International Jazz Day – 2015

Oh my God, y’all! I wish you could have been there sitting on my shoulder seeing what I saw and hearing what I was thinking because it seems so loud in my head. I have a special love for this lady, Paris that began at the beginning of my European career and before.

Before…has to do with the romance of the highest possibilites that a human being can soar to making the most of an eyelash and a whisper and which adores rain that turns the streets into a mirror of glistening color with a flower shop and a boy and a girl with an umbrella.

It rained in Paris as we joined up with UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute to celebrate International Jazz Day with 187 other countries doing the same on this same day…April 30th, 2015. Dear me! I still can’t believe it. UNESCO and the United Nations! The United Nations and Jazz coming together with the Thelonious Monk Institute, with Herbie Hancock as the Chairman.

When American Jazzers went abroad and played this music that was born in America, they talked to an audience of people who’s freedoms were being taken away. In one evening or matinee they saw life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—the pillars of democracy. The United Nations recognizes this fact in the contributions of jazz. And everyone knows that the mother and father of today’s music, such as Rock n Roll and Rhythm and Blues and Pop, came out of Jazz.

This year was the 4th Annual International Jazz Day and how wonderful to have it happen in France. Fact is the French love jazz more than we do in the U.S. They turn it upside down and inside out and study it and swish it around in their mouths like fine wine and continue to have lots of places to hear and do jazz. And they have the oh-so-important smaller and intimate clubs that are just like the early days. This means that a lot of really average people are continuing to enjoy this truly creative and personal expression of art.

Music director and coordinator, John Beasley put together a hot band that included Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Terri Lynn Carrington, and Leigh Ritenour. Myself along with Femi Kuti, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Dhaser Yousseff, Annie Lennox, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hugh Masakela and others all got to showcase our talents on such a great stage. And there we were, a personification of the tradition at its best. 8 separate singers and horn players all playing for the first time with a band they had just met. None of this was lost on the audience who heard and applauded every nuance. This as a concept at all is jazz.

Herbie Hancock, our lead amb-jazzador, was elegant and fresh and personal in his spoken remarks and playing. His choice of John Lennon’s “Imagine” as our finale speaks volumes. This audience at the UNESCO auditorium breathed it all in and stood and applauded in appreciation.

The week in Paris also included some press interviews and a workshop with jazz appreciators at the Philharmonic of Paris, a spectacular facility that stopped me in my tracks on my way to the stage. The whole affair could almost be a watercolor painting with that boy and girl and the flower shop just across the street from the Philharmonic. I hope to be apart of next year’s celebration.

Auvoir,

Al

 

 


   - posted ON 05.8.15 AT 10:20 AM


Panama City, FL – 2015

Panama City – 2015

Oh what a night of wonderful music! This is one where it was an outdoor festival and it rained with umbrellas everywhere, only to stop and produce a rainbow right over the crowd. And believe it or not, it happened as I sang, “rain rain go away, come again another day.” This is the kind of concert that people will never forget. We sang together in the rain 10,000 strong. Us against the elements. “Day-o” was incredible. After the show was over, I went to the back of the venue and signed CDs and posters and T-shirts for what seemed to be 2 hours. People were laughing and hugging and telling me their favorite Al Jarreau stories. It felt like I could have been there for all of them. I guess I was in a way. I finished the night off with a quick video interview for a local radio station and it was onto the bus again to head back to Orlando.

Me??? I took the deepest breath that you can imagine and exhaled with a “thank you, Father”. I’m on my feet getting healed by the music. I don’t talk enough about gratitude. Remind me that it’s on my list.

I know this was short and sweet, but so was Panama City. Until next time…

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 05.8.15 AT 10:17 AM


Miami, FL – Jazz Roots – 2015

Miami – Jazz Roots – 2015

I’ve been to Miami a lot but not enough. It should be right there alongside New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, and Paris. I’m still thirsty. Well anyway, the audience turnout was great and welcomed me and David Sanborn and the Jazz Roots outreach program.

I’m always a little worried to follow David Sanborn at a performance J. The stage is still red hot and smoldering with small pockets of fire that continue to erupt during your opening song. This has been happening for years and it’s a marvelous union of a couple of guys cut from the same cloth. We’re thought to be jazzers but we both have such a deep love for R&B, Soul, and Pop, which will not allow us to exclude those genres from what we do. This day was special because we were Jazz Roots’ amb-jazzadores reaching out to young people who are doing music or who want to do music and will certainly be the future of music to come.

The Jazz Roots outreach program was started by Larry Rosen of GRP Record Label. What a heart-felt notion in a growing desert of interest in the arts education at all by City Hall and Washington DC. Education itself is a withered stepchild who’s unheard, unattended, and marginalized. Teachers are underpaid and underappreciated. So Jazz Roots is reaching out and encouraging and even finding big-hearted donors who will provide instruments for kids.

David and I spent an hour on stage answering questions and chatting with a hundred students on the afternoon of the concert. We glanced at each other in astonishment as we both spoke about the crying need of support for music and the arts. More about the singular importance of arts in life a little bit later…

This for me was the highlight of the Miami visit. David and I did burn the stage up in this wonderful concert hall with wrap-around balcony seating and a pipe organ in the back of the stage. Magnificent…really European in concept, i.e. organ recitals and 200 voice choirs on stage with a full orchestra. That was so much fun to turn around and recognize those people with a shout or a hand wave and they hit it real good on “Day-o”.

Yo, Miami! Let’s keep doing this. There is so much more for me to share with you. See you in Panama City…

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 05.8.15 AT 10:16 AM


Orlando, FL – 2015

Orlando, Florida. Old downtown theater. I walked in for sound check and just felt so reassured and at home hearing the band on stage already bubbling along and cookin’. My family! On my way over to say hello to them Joe Gordon, my manager, quickly directed my attention to the stairs leading to the downstairs dressing room to which I responded in a loud voice, “Oh no…more chairs, less stairs.” The house crew covered their mouths and doubled over in laughter at this reaction from the headliner. Four simple words instead of a run of expletives.

At sound check I was thinking and feeling that this room is a great little venue. 800 seats including the balcony with everybody nearly arms reach away. It’s hard to get rich with a penthouse in New York and Paris and a boat in Monaco when you sing and play in rooms this size, but this kind of intimacy brings out the humanity and feelings that the music can suggest. It’s perfect for me. They even responded immediately and positively to my statement, “all of this has come from a source”.

We switched the order of songs and added new music that brings a new zest…like the early appearance of “Mornin’” and “Take Five” within the first ten minutes. This covers a lot of territory of the required song playlist. And so we reached deep in the bag for freshness and pulled out “Moonlighting”. You should have seen and heard the reaction. Then Turano played a serous jazz cadenza on “We’re in this love together” that was a surprise and delight and made me sing the whole song just slightly different as I anticipated what he was going to do. You go, Joe! The whole band felt the fresh air. Chick Corea’s “Spain” is a complex form that has a wonderful surprise written in. We’re getting pretty good at playing it. We finished the set list and the band left the stage while I stood there and tried to figure out what to do next. I surprised myself when my voice went, “day-o” and everybody responded with a descending line that comes next in the classic banana boat song. Wow! The whole place lifted off the ground and went sideways tumbling head over heels. Fun…we were having it…and that’s the high point; everyone losing their worries and cares and being a kid again. Child’s play. Magically you get rejuvenated, restored, and HEALED. And that’s alchemy of the highest order…taking ordinary sound and light and brass and ebony and ivory and making gold. No, it’s better than gold. Harry Belafonte! I should stop here and spend an hour talking about this brilliant, groundbreaking artist. You can never say enough about him, and you could write a book about his civil rights activism alone.

Oh there’s Shannon West from Smooth Views in the front row. She came all the way from Jacksonville, FL and I’m touched and flattered every time she shows up because we’ve been interviewing and talking for years. She is so smart and intelligent as an observer and writer and she loves jazz with all her heart and soul. Check out Smooth Views.

We all said good night, and my gang and I hopped on the bus for a late night snack and a 5-hour ride to Miami.

See you there,

Al


   - posted ON 05.8.15 AT 10:14 AM


Hello, Spring!

Springtime Greeting/George Duke Legacy

Welcome back East Coasters and New Yorkers. Seriously…I really do envy you and what you’ll be seeing when trees begin to bud and show those little green nubs that almost in slow motion open before your very eyes and fill the trees out with beautiful shades of green. And then the flowers!! With short sleeves and flip-flops soon to come. No one can understand those joys of spring like folks who’ve been through a winter like 2015. There’s a new meaning for Boston Strong. I really do love this change of seasons.

Last spring all of this mixed with the “Celebration of George Duke” experience in the recording studio. What a joyous springtime celebration. That album continues to be in the top 25 of the Jazz Charts and spent more than 20 weeks in the Top 10. That’s a great outing and people continue to ask me about that production and all of the great artists who participated:

George Duke and his sons, Rashid and John, Concord Records and John Burke, Joe Gordon, my manager, Joe Turano, Stanley Clarke, Boney James, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Gerald Albright, Dr. John, Lalah Hathaway, Jeffrey Osborne, Kelly Price, Paul Jackson Jr, Jubu, Greg Phillinganes, Patrice Rushen, John Beasley, JR Robinson, Lenny Castro, Mike Cottone, Bobby Sparks, Brandon Coleman, Rob Bacon, Alex Al, Omari Williams, Porcha Clay, Katriz Trinidad, Fred Martin, Seth Presant, Patrick Lundquist and so many others who contributed to the effort.

There’s enough inspirational fire in that furnace of George contributions to keep the creative juices flowing forever. Thank you again to everybody who played and sang on the album and of course to all of the people who purchased it.

Thinking and talking about George this year has made me think really hard and long about the extended relevance of the George Duke Legacy.

George Duke Legacy

The essence of what George Duke left us as a legacy is more and more important these days. You could easily call it a serious love and commitment to the craft and the beauty of the work itself. This is accompanied by a certainty that this on its own can sustain a constant joy for the work and how it inspires a happiness and deep fulfillment for those who do it.

Push the button, flip the switch, and out comes the “whatever”. That’s what we’ve become as a society and culture. That’s how we expect a degree from a university or a job. Push the button, flip the switch, and out comes the product. But people write poetry, paint oils, work on old muscle cars, invent microchips and create digital devices because there is something in the process of doing it that’s enjoyable for the individual who does it. There’s a real danger to our wonderful productive society when we lose this connection. Truth is we stop doing things if we don’t find the thrill in playing the game. You got game, homes? Here’s the ball. Bring it.

That approach to life where you just push the button kills our ingenuity and our productivity. George loved the process of learning to play his instrument, which helped him write a beautiful song that brought happiness and joy to people. You could fly in your mind with George or shake your booty. In short, that’s the George Duke Legacy. Learn your instrument, discover what it does and enjoy the doing of it. That’s not “button pushing”.

And so yes, George did music that sounded like ‘Earth Wind and Fire”, the finest moments of Billy Cobham and John McLaughlin’s fusion, and Parliament-Funkadelic. To be sure, even all of this great variety came as a result of the desire to express himself in every way possible on his instrument. That’s Music 101 at “Duke University”.

There’s something about getting grey that makes your gratitude quotient explode. It’s happening right now! Come with me.

Love,

Al

 


   - posted ON 05.8.15 AT 10:13 AM


Ronnie Scott’s – London – 2015

Ronnie Scott’s – London – April 2015.

I think I said last time that we were “off to London to visit the Queen”. Well if you are as touched and enamored of jolly ole England and the British empire as I am and the rest of the world has been and come to be, you chuckle with delight these little quotes that come from fairy tales like, “I’m off to London to visit the Queen,” and of course, “off with their heads!” Well we’re back in London Town and if you were at Ronnie Scott’s you would have heard me reminisce how this is a fairytale dream come true to be playing again at the world famous jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s. There’s a who’s who of great jazzers—almost all of them enshrined in framed photos on the walls—that is mind blowing. The fact is that I really am a kid from Milwaukee who had a dream. Most people thinking about my life say, “Yes of course, you’re Al Jarreau. You are the this, the that, and the other and always have been.” How wrong.

This was indeed a beautiful fairytale dream that began in the late 50s with my discovery of the great John Hendricks and Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross and their frequent gigs and engagements at Ronnie Scott’s in London, a new club way back when.

I’ve been back several times since my first date here in 1976 and the same mind rush takes my breath away every time I step foot inside the club or even begin thinking about an upcoming date. The last time here was 15 months ago and we did something unprecedented for me. We played with Tom Walsh’s eight-piece horn band the entire album project “Jarreau” from 1983. A start to finish approach playing the record verbatim top to bottom with all the beautiful Jerry Hey horn arrangements, which were state of the art. Quincy would not be Quincy, and Michael Jackson would not be MJ without those horn arrangements by Jerry Hey (Larry Williams, my keyboard player today, played tenor and flute on those arrangements). I will always point to that engagement 15 months ago as being unique and exceptional and brilliant.

People at Ronnie’s are serious jazzers and have made me part of their family even though they quietly wink at the fact that I do so much pop and R&B. They accept it as part of “Al Jarreau’s jazzin’ it up…an extension of my jazz chops. As a matter of fact, I love that way of thinking about me and looking at me. That’s kind of how I would describe myself. This music setting is just what I came from since the George Duke period which itself was a reflection of a previous period of performing with trios that were the basis for who I am. See The Masquerade is Over (1965) and later on the Al Jarreau and George Duke Trio: Live at the Half Note 1965 album. The personal writing and composing didn’t really come until the late 1960s with a Jarreau band out of Minneapolis and Julio Martinez on guitar.

The band immediately responded to that setting almost as though somewhere in their heads they were having the big flash of understanding that this is where it comes from. There we were all bunched together on a tight stage with people in the front row able to put down their knife and fork and reach out and touch my shoestrings. That’s intimate. That’s close. That’s personal. That’s what I love. This is a gig that requires a performer to give everything that you’ve ever done who’s made you who you are. They want all that you’ve become during 39 years to happen in 75 minutes. That’s not casual…that’s intense. But we did it! And maintained that casual, intimate, relaxed approach with lots of scattered comments about then and now, and even announcers at the BBC. But believe me it’s quite an intense experience for that guy in the first row hearing John Calderon’s guitar or Joe Turano’s sax solos or Mark Simmons’s drumming that is designed on the other hand to cover a 10,000 seater right there on your table next to the salt and pepper and your Vodka Collins. But this size room then very quickly allows for the intimacy of ballads and whispered phrases. It’s a variety package that really is enjoyable in this kind of intimate setting.

Both nights were really fun with the band and me enjoying a special, enthusiastic response from people closer than 25 meters away. We rubbed shoulders and touched hands as we walked by. I think we all felt something of what Simon said when he introduced us at the start of every set that, “here’s a guy and band who we’ve known to play Wembley Arena and Albert Hall, but comes home from time to time to be with us at Ronnie Scott’s.” Up close and personal.

Like I always do, I told the crowd that I’d be back soon. And that’s the truth…I love you.

Until next time…

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 04.6.15 AT 11:19 AM


Cape Town, South Africa 2015

Hi you guys,

Cape Town, South Africa…WOW! I think I must say this really often but I’ll say it again: I wish you could have been there with me. Anyone anyone anyone who has ever been here surely walks away saying what a wonderful, beautiful city and location. I have to come back and bring everybody I know. Places like this on a warm coastline waterfront are typically so crowded and bustling with nervous energy that for many folks it can be a turnoff. Here there’s something more relaxed and comfortable but far beyond that is the friendly and joyous spirit of the people. And if you look closely you can see an infectious kind of joy and hopefulness of the mind and heart that causes and friendliness and truly welcoming spirit that makes the work “hospitality” seem jaded and inappropriate. There’s a spring in their step and expectation of “good things to come” that ought to be packaged and sprinkled all over the world. Somebody will surly say, “Well of course, look what they’ve been through!” And my response to that in as light hearted and not heavy of a fashion as I can be is if it had not been for the grace of God you or I could have been through all of that. Exactly exactly exactly! And that’s the reason for you and I to be grateful and gracious and happy about every new breath of fresh air.

These are the thoughts that I had as I got into the car to the airport…festival staff smiling and happy trying to do any and everything to make us more happy and comfortable. It was not at all lost on me that these were brown skin people just like me who have found something special…some joy and gratitude for life and breath at the moment and big expectations about the future.

This is the 16th year of the festival and I’m real late to the party. But another part of me says it’s just the right time in my life to have a new expansion of my audience and wouldn’t that be wonderful for it to be South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa.

So I’ll return in a heartbeat. After all, if your audience is happy and singing and clapping you’ve got to be thrilled…and I am!

We had a great press conference chat with some very insightful press and jazz people the day before the show. As a matter of fact I continued to be amazed at traveling, for instance, to Poland or France or Germany or Italy and finding some real burning hot beds of jazz with high enthusiasm for its special attributes and qualities.

Oh by the way, I’m going to include the lyric for a song that the band and I wrote especially for South Africa. It appeared on the “All I Got” album in 2002 but ended up being basically unheard and that’s kind of a bummer because we worked really hard on this song it’s got a lot of nice moments and elements. At the press conference I handed out lyrics to this song and apologized for not being aggressive and forward enough in announcing “Jacaranda Bougainvillea”.

 

Oh what a dream, Oh what a story.

Don’t have to weep, Come and enjoy a smile.

Opening scene is just like a doorway.

Here’s a story, in rhythm and rhyme.

There is a tree on the street and in the forest.

Lavender dream whispered a poet.

Bright potpourri. The envy of orchids,

When it’s dressed in a pink and fuchsia twine.

Jacaranda tree and the Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, that garden that you made,

Is a vision of the prayer, you must’ve been prayin’ everyday.

Sweet Azaleas, every color every kind.

And the first and the last are all divine (are God’s design).

There is a dream of the trees and of the flowers.

There is a season of peace at the borderline…

Where we’re redeemed and history will crown us.

Jacaranda tree and Bougainvillea vine.

Oh Mandela, would you say that it’s alright?

When the children play they always say, they say that we were like

Cinderella, in your garden there’s a shrine,

To the first and the last they’re all divine.

One and all, big and small, a common birth.

Each and every child for all his worth.

Take the one who’s always last and make him first.

Take these seeds. Seed the earth.

Comin’ along,

Oh what a long way we have come.

Comin’ along,

Makin’ a home for everyone.

Comin’ along, way down South in Africa

Look at the Jacaranda tree huggin’ the Bougainvillea

So much to say!!! I’ve never talked about three South African brothers (really blood brothers) who lived with me, Susan, and Ryan back in the late 1990s.We had so much laughter and fun that my grin still hurts. One of those guys is a record executive at Universal Music.

On another note, I’m also grateful these days, thoughtfully putting little tick marks on my calendar as we complete another on-stage performance. I’m talking to myself, especially my legs, like some crazy man. I’m almost tweeting and texting and shouting at my legs to keep on pushing. “Come on guys, it’ll be alright.”

Ok we’re off to London to visit Ronnie Scott’s for two nights. Amazing! My first gig in London was at Ronnie’s in the mid 1970s. I was already in love with this world famous jazz room because of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross jazz vocal trio who played there in the late 50s and 60s. Around a year ago I played a two-night stint with a London horn band doing a top to bottom performance of the 1983 Jarreau album.

This relationship with Ronnie’s is really special. I cherish it and appreciate it being kept alive. This is rare stuff.

Ok I’ll be back to you shortly!

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 04.4.15 AT 03:14 PM


Philadelphia Residency – Feb 2015

Artist In Residency – Mann Center and Clef Club

In Philadelphia there’s a master-class program in cooperation with the Mann Center for Performing Arts, which brings together junior and senior high school music students and renowned Jazz artists. It’s fantastic! It takes place over three days and involves performances by the students of music they’ve selected and rehearsed and very often involves the music of the artist in residency. The AIR (artist in residency) listens and comments on their performances and observes them as they grow and change over the three days. I’m delighted with the discovery that all of this takes place with the involvement and cooperation of the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz…OUTSTANDING! This is the kind of thing, which if cloned in some sort of miraculous fashion could really serve the preservation of one of America’s most precious art forms and cultural contributions.

It’s quite significant that many European countries with populations that were walled in by dictatorships and suppressive governments came to have their first glimpses of freedom by listening to Jazz music and watching American films. They will talk to you about Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Stan Kenton—“Am-jazz-adores”. You probably know that this music had its birthplace in the Deep South with a kinship to cotton fields and slavery and early gospel music and juke joints. It probably would not have happened without these elements. Even if we are embarrassed by these facts, we should celebrate this singular phenomenal occurrence. Today’s Rock n Roll and pop music owes its roots to the musical descendants of this form through Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Stones, and Eric Clapton. This music today is played behind Wall Street commercials on television. “Here come old flat top…come together.”

So here we were in Philadelphia at the Clef Club of Jazz. I’ve already rambled too much so I’ll try to be brief here on out…BUT…this is a brilliant undertaking that deserves every bit of this.

Suffice it to say, Philadelphia is an amazing mecca for music, at least as important as New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles, or New York City. I’ll leave it to you to start finding individuals that range from Frankie Avalon to the “Delphonics” and Stanley Clarke. I kept saying, “It must be in the water,” that such incredible musical things happen at the confluence of the Delaware and the Schuylkill rivers. Great universities too.

The average age of these young choral participants was about 16 or 17. This was the first time that the Mann Center’s program has focused on singers instead of instrument players, so the kids came joyously and happily accepted this challenge of singing some Jazz music.

All 3 of these groups elected perform “Take Five.” My my my…what a challenge! There aren’t three recording professional Jazz singers who’ve taken on that song. And so it was good for them to experience one of the extreme challenges of Jazz performing. One of the groups also chose “Spain”, also a big singing performance challenge.

My first remarks of a comment or critique just flew out of my mouth. And it had to do with the fact that most Jazz singers do not do this kind of work. We could go down the list of them and after you mentioned Ella Fitzgerald and John Hendricks, the list gets quite small of singers who take on really complex music. Most well known Jazz singers sing music more in the style of Mark Murphy, Frank Sinatra, or Tony Bennett. It’s not necessary to be technically complex and as challenging as ‘Take Five” and “Spain,” and, for most, scat singing and improvising is a out of bounds. It requires a discipline and self-criticism that is beyond rare. You’ll know when you’re ready, and of course all of this requires experiment and trial and error.

There were sparks of fresh singing ability and talent shown by one girl who “wow-ed” the audience with her performance of Etta James’s “At Last” and a young man on “Teach Me Tonight”.

So the main thing here is to let you know about a marvelous thing that is already underway in Philadelphia that is surely the model for what could be and should be happening in America and the rest of the world. Get this; some visionary sponsors along with the Mann Center for Performing Arts realized a serious need that’s not being met in our public school programs. The sad thing is that music and arts programs have declined from the curriculum and many say with drastic implications. More on this later…

Let me close now by saying a huge “Thank You” to Rhoda Blount and her team for their spectacular work in leading the way for establishing this program and in particular for inviting me to participate and to educate myself too. Thank you to the Clef Club and the Mann Center of Performing Arts!

I’ll be back soon.

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 02.24.15 AT 02:54 PM


Hammond, IN – Horseshoe Casino

Horseshoe Casino – Hammond, IN – 2/13/15

This was a wonderful return for me to a seldomly-visited city with a good size audience. The first time was seven years ago with Take Six. This time, the promoter, Al Kennedy, partnered had me partnered with Jeffrey Osborne and Angela Winbush.

Hammond is situated in the Northwest corner of Indiana and feels like an extension of the south side of Chicago. I’m sure lots of our audience drove in from Chicago.

I was delighted all evening long with bursts of applause and shouts of recognition as we went through our program of “Jarreau” songs. As I think about it now it could be because seven years is a long time ago and that might be quite long for someone who wants to hear “Black and Blues” or “We’re in this Love Together” played live and in front of them. And so it was this evening with Jeffrey Osborne joining me on a version of “My Old Friend” which he also sang with me on my new George Duke tribute album.

It was great to have Rick O’Dell, a local and popular smooth jazz radio DJ, be the Emcee and begin the whole evening with what felt like a real friendly fireside chat. It’s kind of reassuring. It was great to see the audience respond to him sounding like an old friend rather than a peppy, quirky, comical 9am drive time DJ. He is simple and cool.

By the time we closed with “Roof Garden/Reach for It,” it was clear that we had satisfied a lot of people. So thank you, Al Kennedy.   And, you guys who keep coming back to hear heartfelt, uplifting, joyous music, please Don’t stop!

Love,

Al


   - posted ON 02.20.15 AT 06:34 PM