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Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau brings a message of love to the Hub


Working for the state during the day and working nights and weekends on his music, Jarreau started to find his niche and knew it was time to make music full-time.

“The joy I got out of the music was this renewed fervor, to actually have time to create and write new stuff,” he explained.

As he evolved as a musician, his confidence grew as well. The boost prepared him when record executives called.

“When Universal [called] me, I knew I would be signed with someone,” he said. “It just didn’t have to be them. If they didn’t sign me, I would sign with someone else, or go back to a being rehab counselor.”

Jarreau never looked back. He started performing in both Los Angels and New York. His acclaim grew and the awards followed.

In 1977, he won his first Grammy for best jazz vocal performance in “Look to the Rainbow.” If he wasn’t a household name then, he became one after singing the theme to the popular 1980s show “Moonlighting.”

Jarreau admits that while the fame and accolades are nice, hard work and love for the craft are the ingredients for success.

“I was so serious about the commitment,” he said.

Staying true to that commitment can be a time-consuming process. Jarreau said that he sometimes spends as long as seven to eight months composing lyrics, but that it is worth it. At other times, he simply gets  inspired by a sound, like for his song “Mornin’.”

“Sometimes it’s just a brilliant description of a sound and allowing the music to guide you,” he explained, breaking into a scat of that song.

His enthusiasm doesn’t wane when he talks about young up-and-coming performers. The dedication and work ethic Jarreau has invested in his career isn’t necessarily reflected in the “get rich quick” reality shows that guarantee pop stars success overnight. But does that bother him?

“I love it,” he exclaimed. “They will discover it and get to it, the risks of being showered with things early on in life. That is not a real representation.”

However, Jarreau said, that is what distinguishes the dedicated musician.

“It’s OK that some things are misrepresented,” he says. “Some of these people are going to take that success and do something with it.”

What he loves the most about today’s reality shows is the passion they inspire in the performers.

“All of them are better people,” he said. “They are changed people, because they have found that thing that they would do for free. Because they get to do the thing they do, they are happier.”

As Jarreau prepared for his next performance, he said he was reminded of his youth and why he traveled down this path years ago.

“That’s how I was,” he says. “I thought, ‘I’m still going to sing and learn and be the best singer I [can] be.’”

Al Jarreau performs Saturday night, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. at Showcase Live at Patriot Place, One Patriot Place, Foxborough.

For more information, including ticket prices and availability, visit