Al Jarreau has died.

We like what we like. You get to judge. Here’s my story, and no apologies.

Al Jarreau died yesterday. When I heard the news I immediately thought of Teach Me Tonight. I loved that song.

I don’t know much of Jarreau’s career, which was a good one according to everyone, but what I know is that album that has Teach Me Tonight on it. I have that album in my basement, and if I had an actual record player I think I would play it sometimes.  Or would have.

When I got back to my house today, after the news of Jarreau’s demise, I searched YouTube for Teach Me Tonight, and after listening I wasn’t so sure I should write about it. But that’s crap. I should write about it.

Jarreau’s version of a classic is all crudded up with mature music frou frou, and if I was smarter I would have hated it. But I didn’t. I really liked it as a contemporary soul/jazz sounding version of an old song. It’s good to be soft. I love his voice. It is clear and melodic. I liked it. I have to admit it.

On the other hand, I was also familiar with Dinah Washington’s version.

This gets it. Enough said.


17 thoughts on “Al Jarreau has died.

  1. Thanks Tom. My remark was an attempt to say that exact thing, using more words and less effect.

    Breaking Away, the album with Teach Me Tonight, has a killer version of Brubeck’s Blue Rondo A La Turk.

  2. I love Blue Rondo and Tom is correct. I was on a plane when I saw the news, and I always think we should acknowledge artists that gave us pleasure. (Hell, we should all always acknowledge everyone and the world would be a happier place).

    The last months have been rugged on musicians, but part of it is–I think–that musicians lived to be older and the industry became huge and we have a generation of performers like our parents had Harry James and Ella and Louis and Dizzy and the Duke and those guys all were like Dylan and Jagger and McCartney and Reed the our generation of performers who all sort of aged together.

    Sigh: that is the way it goes.

    But, I was sort of thinking about this after MTM passed away and got cred here. I think the only other non-musician we have acknowledged was Peter O’Toole? Did Carrie Fischer get virtual ink (probablyshoulda)?

  3. Who am I to mock, I like Abba (a few songs). But I can’t stand this stuff, it reminds me of being trapped in a girl’s car, unable to change the music because “the driver gets to pick the music,” a rule we lived by. I knew that relationship wasn’t going to last. Hey Al, RIP.

  4. I’m with Gene, this isn’t in my wheelhouse (or even on my radar). I’m sure Al was a helluva guy.

    Always annoyed when this site strives to emulate every other music site ever invented. No interest here in being everything for everybody.

  5. I always find it funny that Steve always equates having a variety of tastes with emulating the music press. My point here was, not explicitly stated, that in 1981 I stilll loved punk and post punk and after punk, and also loved the nexus of Blondie and the Clash with the borning rap music, and loved Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Baambataa (sp) and the Furious Five and it goes on. Somehow in the maelstrom I fell in love with Al’s Breaking Away and a great Luther Van Dross album that has this song. I know, you’ll hate it. That’s okay. I don’t and we can still be easy friends. Likes don’t disqualify.

    Here’s Van Dross singing A House is Not a Home at some awards show. He’s a fine singer, but production turns dross into gold. The album version is less treacly. And still, I love this man singing, the way I love Al singing, too.

    Oh, so the point, I guess is, I’m not the press.

  6. Yes, Peter, you are the sage of Rock Remnants, knowing just enough about every “important” artist and style around every bend. With always the perfect, thoughtful, tasteful resolve for every musical scuffle.

    But I believe it is you who named this site ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Remnants. It could be called a lot of other things. And it’s the up-their-own-asses press like Dave Marsh and Robert Christgau who began deciding years ago that much non-rock ‘n’ roll is more important to rock ‘n’ roll than a lot of true rock ‘n’ roll. And you often seem to want to mimic those schmucks an awful lot.

    Nothing wrong with liking other kinds of music. I’m sure Al Jarreau is great if that stuff floats your boat. Luther Vandross might be great too, by the same token.

    But they ain’t rock ‘n’ roll. Not by a long shot.

    Cue Lawr rambling nonsensically.

    • So, the question is do we have a purity test? Do we explore the way music works for us? Or do we want to spend our time conducting purity tests? Are we not schmucks? Do we like Devo?

      If this was some business venture you would have some basis for insulting me and reminding me that our business model relied on pandering to the cretins who think rock n roll is only one thing. They’re welcome to that. For my part, I don’t want it.

      Here’s an Al Jarreau quote from a few years ago, just to drive you batty: “”I’m touched by rock ‘n’ roll. I’m touched by the Beatles. I want some of the music I do to reflect that. Here I am. I love Sly Stone and James Brown and Stevie Wonder and I want my music to reflect some of that. Here I am. I’m touched by Jon Hendricks. I want some of my music to reflect that. And when I write, you’re going to hear it.”

      • ‘Tis the righteous duty of the Sage to insult the Cretin. But woe be unto the Cretin who insults the Sage.

        “One, two, three, four,
        Cretins wanna hop some more.”

  7. The thing is, Steve, you are not a Cretin: you are a bigot. All you care about is your definition of what rock is: anyone else who goes outside your lines is an idiot and plain out wrong.


    I get to write and like what I want, and you get to write and like what you want and at this point I get it. 17-year old head banger shit. That’s it.. Enjoy.

    i am done rambling, but i am still an idiot.

  8. This is getting comical. Especially because 80 percent of the reason I posted the “everything for everybody” thing was in response to your idea of mandatory obitting of movie stars on a music site. Then Peter posted a condescending paragraph and I figured he needs to know – like the rest of us – he’s full of shit sometimes too.

    I do occasionally get frustrated in that, truly, this site IMHO should be called “Music” Something-or-other, because I don’t care for the Marsh ‘n’ Roll which runs rampant around here at times.

    That’s pretty much it. (Now who’s rambling?)

    Go watch The Stooges doc. Please. We can fistfight at LABR.

  9. When did I ever suggest including movie stars? I only noted there were just two and possibly because of the Star Wars thing maybe Carrie was a thought.

    Funny: you sure as fuck read a lot more Dave Marsh shit than me. I never read any stuff like that just I rarely read fantasy baseball articles.

    I read fiction when I read, usually old French and English lit.

  10. I haven’t read Dave Marsh in decades; what’s the beef with him? He used to be pretty good in the Creem days. He championed the Dolls and not for the gimmicky reasons, not to mention the Stooges/MC5. I bet he even liked The Pink Fairies. He should be forgiven a lot, whatever his subsequent transgressions (did he like U2 or something?).

    BTW, I heard this on a classic rock station the other day and I blasted it; hadn’t heard it since who knows when. These guys were from Detroit too, and around that time. It’s Stupid Rock but that’s, like, good. The rest of the album didn’t live up to the promise though.

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