Hours before the Grammy Awards ceremony, the biggest night in the music industry in the United States, word came of the death of well-known jazz and rhythm and blues singer Al Jarreau.
Winner of seven Grammys himself, Jarreau died at age 76 Sunday in a hospital in Los Angeles, the city where the Grammys are held each year. No cause of death was given.
He was hospitalized for exhaustion last week, and while he had been “recovering slowly and steadily” according to a Friday post on his Facebook page, he had been forced to cancel his remaining tour dates for 2017.
The multi-talented Jarreau achieved a rarity, winning Grammys in three different categories: jazz, pop and rhythm and blues. He released 16 studio albums, a host of live albums and several compilations. He was considered one of jazz’s greatest vocalists. Jarreau’s hits included We’re in This Love Together, After All, and Moonlighting.
Moonlighting was the theme he wrote for the late 1980s’ American television show with the same title, and it cemented his place in pop culture.
Gregory Porter, who won the Grammy Sunday for Best Jazz Album, said Jarreau was “one of the greatest jazz voices that ever lived.”
“Jazz is the music of freedom and Al Jarreau epitomized that,” Porter said
In a 2012, interview with All About Jazz, Jarreau said he still was in awe that he made music for a living.
“To be given that ability to create something where there was nothing before, empty space, and now there’s a song; that’s an amazing gift,” he said.
“There’s nothing more important than that, except maybe creating a life.”