1. After All
2. Moonlighting (Theme)
3. Never Givin' Up
4. Roof Garden
5. Spain (I Can Recall)
6. Take Five (Edit)
7. We're in this Love Together
8. Rainbow in Your Eyes
9. Just to be Loved
10. Cold Duck
11. We Got By
12. Boogie Down
13. (Round, Round, Round) Blue Rondo à la Turk
15. So Good
16. Excellent Adventure
A question that has often arisen on this website is: "How do
you distinguish a real jazz singer?" There are so many pretenders
around that they cloud the issue by counterfeiting genuine jazz vocals.
However, this album supplies some useful hints, as Al Jarreau is a
pukka jazz singer (as well as a soul and pop singer). What sets him
out from the crowd is his ability to use his voice in the same way
that jazz musicians use their instruments. There is plenty of evidence
in this compilation that Jarreau can sing like a jazz instrumentalist
- notably on the edited version of his live 1977 interpretation of
Take Five. Another Brubeck-associated tune - Blue Rondo
à la Turk - is further proof of his dexterity. Again and again
through this CD, one is struck by his vocal range, adroitness and
jazz feeling. Even in the most poppy items, he varies his inflections
and really gets inside the songs.
Many Jarreau fans will already have many of these tracks but this
generous collection (nearly 70 minutes) makes an excellent introduction
to an unsurpassed male singer. The CD omits some songs you might expect
- like Trouble in Paradise and Day by Day - but it includes
many tracks which have become familiar to us through Al's unique performances.
Numbers like After All and the theme from Moonlighting
are justifiably popular classics. In fact, Jarreau has always had
an ear for catchy songs (many of which he wrote or co-wrote) and his
adaptability allows him to tackle many musical genres.
Al's jazz credentials are clear in his recording tunes by such jazzmen
as Eddie Harris (Cold Duck) and Chick Corea (Spain - I Can
Recall). The former proves that he can sound groovy as
well as tender, and the latter shows his facility in vocalese, rattling
out words at top speed to match the convoluted melody. You might call
it a kind of rapping, devised years before the rappers got hold of
it. And note how he opens Roof Garden by using his voice as
if it's a piano or saxophone.
This compilation illustrates Jarreau's longevity: spanning the years
1975 to 2004, and the final track is a new recording which demonstrates
that he has not lost his deftness. Recommended.