Sunday, August 12 at 2 p.m.
Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and
Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco
|Re-creating a legendary San Francisco recording session, Al Jarreau and The George Duke Trio reunited for an afternoon of jazz classics.|
|Oakland's neo-soul songstress Mara Hruby opened the day with her mesmerizing, smooth vocals|
Al Jarreauâ€™s distinctive vocal style has made him one of the most critically-acclaimed performers of our time with seven GrammyÂ® Awards, scores of international music awards, and fans worldwide. Jarreau is the only vocalist in history to net Grammy Awards in three different categories (jazz, pop, and R&B), including his most recent win for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, "God Bless The Child", together with George Benson and Jill Scott in 2007.
Jarreau was born in Milwaukee, WI in 1940. The son of a vicar, Jarreau started singing at the age of four in the church choir. After receiving his Masters Degree at the University of Iowa, Jarreau relocated to San Francisco to begin a career in rehabilitation counseling. While in San Francisco, Jarreauâ€™s musical talents came to the forefront and he found himself singing at a small jazz club, the Half/Note, with a trio headed by George Duke. It was in this intimate setting that the album Al Jarreau and the George Duke Trio â€“ Live at the Half/Note, was recorded in 1965, a portrait of two young musical talents on the cusp of stardom.
Jarreau moved on to Los Angeles and New York City, where he gained national network television exposure with Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, David Frost and Mike Douglas, and performances at The Improv. In 1975, he was signed to a recording contract with Warner Bros, and released his debut album, We Got By, to unanimous acclaim.
Since then, Jarreau has released more than 20 albums, spawning hits like â€œWeâ€™re in This Love Together,â€ â€œTeach Me Tonight,â€ â€œSo Good,â€ and the theme song to the hit television show, Moonlighting. He has performed on Broadway, guest starred on television shows, and in national commercials, and performed with symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. He has collaborated on recordings with George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Sir Paul McCartney, Jill Scott, Chris Botti, and Patti Austin, amongst others.
Called "the voice of versatility" by the Chicago Tribune, â€œthe greatest jazz singer aliveâ€ by Time Magazine, and "one of the world's greatest natural resources" by the Detroit News, Jarreau received his own Star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fameâ€ in 2001.
After more than 30 years in the industry, Jarreau is undoubtedly one of the greatest performers and innovative vocalists of our time. Al continues to tour extensively worldwide, with his sextet and symphony shows, and is currently in the studio working on a new album.
One of the great jazz musicians of our time, George Duke is an accomplished keyboardist, producer, arranger, bandleader, and composer with roots in the Bay Area.
Duke was born in San Rafael, California, and raised in Marin City. Inspired at a Duke Ellington concert, Duke began his piano studies at age seven. By the age of sixteen, George had played with a number of high school jazz groups. Duke attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and majored in trombone and composition with a minor in contrabass, receiving his Bachelor of Music degree in 1967.
In addition to working at San Francisco's Half Note Club with Jarreau, Duke played at the Both/And with everybody from Letta Mbulu to Sonny Rollins and Dexter Gordon. Duke later received a Masters Degree in composition from San Francisco State University and briefly taught a course on Jazz and American Culture at Merritt Junior College in Oakland. At this time, Duke also released a series of jazz LP's on the MPS label.
The George Duke Trio, which emerged from those sessions, was soon touring in Europe and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 1969, Duke toured for the entire year with Frank Zappa. At the end of 1970, Duke joined veteran jazzman Julian "Cannonball" Adderly and worked with the likes of Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams and Dizzy Gillespie -- artists who had inspired him as a young musician.
In 1973, George rejoined Zappa with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty for the next three years, until Duke left to join forces with drummer Billy Cobham, forming a powerhouse jazz fusion unit. Duke launched his solo career in 1976, and enjoyed success with a series of fusion-oriented LP's such as his debut CBS LP, From Me To You. In 1978, the funk-flavored sound of the gold album Reach For It propelled Duke into the upper reaches of the charts, and from small clubs to large arenas.
Since then, Duke has built an impressive portfolio of work not only as a performer, but as a composer and Grammy-winning producer, working with artists like Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, Melissa Manchester, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, Dianne Reeves, The Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Keith Washington, Natalie Cole, Johnny Gill, and Anita Baker. His breakthrough as a producer came with an album by A Taste Of Honey, which featured the song "Sukiyaki," which went to Number 1 on the pop, adult contemporary, and R&B charts, ultimately selling over two million copies.
George Duke was named "R&B Keyboardist Of The Year" by Keyboard Magazine for two consecutive years. Other honors include Grammy nominations for his production of "We Are the World" by the Children Of The World; "Sweet Baby" by the Clarke/Duke project; "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams; "Stay With Me Tonight" and "On The Wings Of Love" by Jeffrey Osborne; and "Fumilayo" by Dianne Reeves. Tutu, by Miles Davis with selections produced by George Duke, won a Grammy in 1986. Both Miles Davisâ€™ Amandla (selections produced by Duke) and Al Jarreau's Heart's Horizon (produced entirely by Duke) received Grammy nominations in 1990.
Duke has also acted as musical director for numerous television programs and special events, including the Soul Train Music Awards, NBC's Sunday Night Show, Anita Bakerâ€™s performance at the Kennedy Center for The Democratic National Committee, and the critically-lauded Burt Bacharach television special on Fox Network entitled One Amazing Night, which featured an array of artists including Dionne Warwick, Elvis Costello, Winona Judd and Barenaked Ladies.
Duke has also established a reputation for television and film scoring work with The Five Heartbeats soundtrack, the title song for the movie Karate Kid III, music for Paramount Pictures Leap of Faith and Meteor Man, and daytime talk shows. Duke appeared on NBC's soap opera Generations and on Comic Relief with Doc Severinson, donating his funds to the homeless.
In 1996, Duke released his musical tour de force Muir Woods Suite, which was performed by a jazz quartet made up of Duke (piano), Stanley Clarke (bass), Chester Thompson (drums), and Paulinho Da Costa (percussion) with Lâ€™orchestre National de Lille, and Ettore Stratta, conductor. Duke later performed the suite in 2004 at Disney Hall with The LA Philharmonic. That same year, Duke released his 30th solo album and fourth release on Warner Bros. Records, Is Love Enough?
BET produced and directed a profile on Duke called House Of Duke. He also participated in the Artist-In-Residence series at Berklee College of Music and was the recipient of the coveted Edison Life Time Achievement Award in Rotterdam.
Oakland-based neo-soul singer Mara Hruby is a fast-rising star with a smooth, jazzy vocal sound and a singular style.Â After performing as a dancer and singer backing other Bay Area artists, she recently released her debut EP From Her Eyes, featuring cover songs originally recorded by male artists like Mos Def, Jamiroquai, Bob Marley, and others.Â Â
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