This performance was tried and true to the cause of jazz . . . . . . . . !
One of the most prominent and significant influences in today’s modern day music continues to be vocalist Al Jarreau. With an ability to transcend the boundaries of classical, popular, R&B and jazz, he has successfully traversed the superimposed fickleness of audiences for more than 40 years. As a vocalist, there is uniqueness to his craft that places him in a category uniquely qualified to be phenomenal. On December 11, 2009, Al Jarreau brought his blend of musical entertainment to the Arena Houston Theater, which is the most dynamic of all venues in the city. As an iconoclast, he is always revered wherever he performs.
Although Al Jarreau is often looked upon as primarily a jazz artist; throughout his 40-plus years as an entertainer, his performances mirror his vocal diversity. Having won Grammy Awards in the categories of R&B, jazz and for “Best Album for Children,” his concerts are constant reminders of versatility as an artist. At the Arena Jarreau pushed the envelope of vocal intuitiveness, while executing the characteristics of improvisational jazz scatting, sensitivity of love songs and as the consummate entertainer. As a point of reference, connoisseurs of Jarreau’s multi-faceted career know what to expect during his performances, while audiences new to his talent leave pleasantly surprised.
Riding high on his latest CD release entitled ‘Al Jarreau – The Very Best of: An Excellent Adventure,” Mr. Jarreau criss-crossed many paths of enlightenment during his visit to Houston. This opened an avenue for an enthusiastic audience to absorb the ambiance of his effervescent love songs and his unconventional approach to jazz. As a vocalist, Al’s talent spoke on well on merit and pure showmanship; as he mesmerized his many fans with an expanse of musical diversity, which is seldom experienced with today’s stable of artists. His movements and musical repertoire were well known, yet his overall appeal as an artist remained highly anticipated and appreciated. Revisiting such tunes as “Take Five,” “We’re In This Love Together,” “After All” and “Cold Duck Time,” Jarreau mastered the art of entertainment for an all inclusive 90-plus minutes. At the conclusion, there was value added contentment tied to a much deserved applause and a more than satisfied audience.
Overall, Al Jarreau’s musical contributions are archived in numerous iPods, tape decks and music libraries. But to experience his performance in the round on a rotating stage at the Arena Houston Theater is always a treat like no other. In every sense of what pure showmanship should be about, Al Jarreau gave his all as a performer on the evening of December 11th; but Al Jarreau does that wherever he appears, whether he is in the studio or on the concert circuit. In the minds of many, he may well be the finest vocalist of his generation. But in hindsight, excellence has no measure and the timeless attributes tied to the music of Al Jarreau will always be there to remind us of “an excellent adventure towards accentuating the positive.
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