VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
07 AUG 12 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Al Jarreau is the only vocalist to have won Grammys in three categories -- pop, jazz and R&B. He's on track to win another with his new release, Al Jarreau And The Metropole Orkest - Live. Recorded over a two-night engagement in The Netherlands, it's vintage Jarreau -- swinging, whimsical and astoundingly creative.
The Metropole Orkest is an unusual outfit, a 53-piece symphony orchestra that specializes in jazz and pop. Boasting a "double rhythm section," one for jazz and one for rock and pop, it's been helmed since 2005 by Grammy-winning arranger/composer Vince Mendoza, who, along with his collaborations with countless jazz luminaries, has worked with Joni Mitchell, Sting and Elvis Costello. Mendoza reviewed Jarreau's previous recordings, culling out gems to arrange for the orchestra.
Jarreau has lost none of his vocal gifts in the decades since he originally recorded most of these tracks. Joe Zawinul's "A Remark You Made," for which Jarreau wrote lyrics and retitled as "Something That You Said (A Remark You Made)," is as vocally acrobatic as the original and only improved by the replacement of the original's synth horn lines with actual horns.
For the jazz purists out there who preferred Jarreau before he became a crossover sensation, the updated "We're In This Love Together" will be a revelation. It swings harder than the original and is chock-full of Jarreau's signature flights of fancy.
Along with Jarreau classics like "Cold Duck" and "Agua De Beber", there are two American Songbook standards included -- "Midnight Sun" and "I'm Beginning To See The Light." You think you've heard these chestnuts before? Trust me, you haven't until you've heard them on this astounding recording.