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Al Jarreau: Jarreau

Album Notes

Personnel: Al Jarreau (vocals); Jay Graydon (guitar, synthesizer); Jerry Hey, Chuck Findley, Gary Grant (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bill Reichenbach, Charlie Loper, Lew McCreary (trombone); Tom Canning (piano, synthesizer, harmonica); David Foster, Greg Mathieson (piano, synthesizer); Jeremy Lubbock (piano); Theophilus T. Blood, Steve George, Michael Omartian, Steve Porcaro, Robbie Buchanan (synthesizer); Abe Laboriel (bass); Jeff Porcaro (drums, percussion); Steve Gadd, Grey Trevorson (drums); Victor Feldman (percussion); Venetta Gloud, Bill Champlin, Richard Page (background vocals).

Recorded at Garden Rake Studios, Studio City and Ocean Way Studios, Hollywood, California.

Having broken through into the pop Top Ten albums with producer Jay Graydon and Breakin' Away, Jarreau had found his commercial groove, and it was potent enough to sustain him at least through the eponymously titled follow-up album. Again, strong, often self-co-composed material, and catchy, radio-friendly arrangements with lots of synthesizers would be the strong suit of this album, front-loaded by two large-scale R&B hits, the cheery "Mornin'" and the footstomping "Boogie Down," that would be part of his concert repertoire forever more ("Save Me" is also in their league). The backing comes from a coterie of L.A. pros who kick in more energy than what one would normally expect; it must be the material that fired 'em up. In other words, this is a really good R&B album, almost a great one, with the one caveat being that Jarreau's unique vocal abilities aren't remotely challenged; this could conceivably have been cut by almost any skilled R&B singer. ~ Richard S. Ginell


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