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Grammy winner plans to jazz up Waco Hall

Nov. 10, 2005

by VAN DARDEN, reporter

Jazz singer Al Jarreau will "moonlight" his way across the Waco Hall stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

The five-time Grammy Award-winning singer will dip into his lengthy discography to perform many of his hits, such as "We're in This Love Together," "Mornin," and the theme from the Bruce Willis TV show, Moonlighting.

The Wisconsin native is the only artist to receive Grammys in three separate categories -- jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues.

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Jarreau will join the Waco Symphony Orchestra for "An Evening With Al Jarreau."

"We've never invited a jazz vocalist to play with the symphony orchestra, so I'm really looking forward to this concert," said Susan Taylor, executive director of the Waco Symphony.

Taylor said Jarreau had not recently been to Central Texas, and the Waco Symphony Council wanted to bring in an artist with a wide appeal.

"Al Jarreau is really great because he crosses all generations," Taylor said.

Crockett senior Joseph Roberts said he's looking forward to Jarreau's performance.

"I think it's great that Waco gets to have this caliber of artist come and play. It's not every day a Grammy winner performs at Waco Hall," Roberts said.

Taylor said Jarreau's 90-minute set will begin with a medley of some of his pop songs.

"He's bringing his own conductor, so I'll be in the audience," said Stephen Heyde, Waco Symphony director and conductor and longtime Jarreau fan.

Heyde said Jarreau also will bring several members of his own band.

"The three-piece he brings is quite traditional for a pops artist," Heyde said. "The bass player, keyboardist and drummer are critical. They have to know all the changes."

Jarreau hit the music scene in 1975 with his critically and commercially acclaimed debut, We Got By. Over the course of a decade, he received two German Grammys and a string of American Grammys.

In 1981, Breakin' Away went platinum, selling more than a million copies, and brought him two more Grammys with awards for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male Jazz Vocalist.

Jarreau graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin and earned his master's degree in vocational rehabilitation at the University of Iowa.

Jarreau moved to San Francisco to begin his career in rehabilitation counseling and ended up performing at small jazz clubs before working his way up to famed clubs such as the Troubador and the Bitter West End in Los Angeles.

"(Jarreau) has mastered a fusion of jazz, blues and pops," Heyde said. "Anything he plays will be fun."

Ticket prices range from $20 to $40. Area high school and college students with valid IDs may purchase tickets for $10.