Monday, February 13, 2017

Remembering Al Jarreau

My friend, Uri, had discovered an album that he couldn’t wait to share with our mutual friend, Chet. So Chet brings the album to my house. It was all green. It had a picture of a rather attractive guy on the cover. Chet put the album on the record player and said, ‘Just listen to this.’ And I was hooked.

It helped that Chet sang a lot like him, which was encouraging to him. I was in love with Chet, and now in love with this guy who had an album, who sounded like Chet.

Fast forward, San Francisco, 1978. I am now over 3000 miles from home. I’ve left town because my mother died suddenly. I am supported by family and brand new friends. I am teaching and dancing full-time. I have a mad crush on my dance teacher.

He loves the Pat Metheny Group. His brother likes Pat Metheny as well. We discover that Pat Metheny is playing at UC Santa Cruz. We buy tickets and make plans to go - me, Alan, and his brother Paul. We are excited.

The night of the concert, we are tooling down Hwy 17, we are listening to Pat Metheny on the cassette player in the car. We are pumped. We are ready for some Pat Metheny Live!

We arrive and the event begins.  We hear a bass playing. Frantically looking out onto the stage, there is no one there, or they are all in shadow, and there is certainly no one playing a bass.

Soon, a man emerges from the wing and it is with his voice that he is creating the illusion - that sound. Remarkable. Astonishing. Incredible. Outstanding. 

Before his set is over, we are convinced we don’t even need to stay for Pat Metheny, the concert has already been fabulous. We have gotten more than our money’s worth. This amazing musician’s name? Al Jarreau.

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