Born March 12, 1940, Alwin Lopez Jarreau in Milwaulkee, Wisconsin, Al was the fifth of six children. His father was a minister at a Seventh Day Adventist church, while his mother was a pianist. As a result, the large family would sing together at church concerts and school PTA meetings.
Jarreau was always an active kid. He served as student council president at his high school and later received a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation. While working as a rehab counselor, the jazz musician also performed at night with George Duke. The success of his nightclub performances and catching the eye of Warner Bros executives prompted Jarreau to focus on his music solely on his music career.
This focus turned into a nearly 50-year career earning him a total of 19 Grammy nominations and six wins. Making Jarreau one of the first musicians to win Grammys in three separate categories – jazz, pop and R&B. Al Jarreau passed in 2017 due to respiratory complications.
Watch him accept the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1992 for his performance of “Blue Rondo a la Turk.”