Rewards | Fire Keeper's Club
Friday, August 21 at 8 p.m.
On his last record, My Old Friend, Grammy®-winning singer and songwriter Al Jarreau paid loving tribute to one of his longtime kindred spirits—legendary keyboardist, composer and producer George Duke. Gathering an impressive list of special guests, including bassists Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke; saxophonists Gerald Albright and Boney James; and singers Dianne Reeves, Kelly Price, Lalah Hathaway and Jeffrey Osborne; among others, the record gave a snapshot of Duke’s expansive musical range that included post-bop, jazz-fusion, R&B and Brazilian jazz.
Brazilian jazz played a large role in both Jarreau and Duke’s respective careers. In fact, both fell in love with Brazilian music around the same time in the late ’60s. Jarreau first met Duke in 1965 when he moved to San Francisco from his hometown of Milwaukee after a stint with the U.S. Army Reserves. Jarreau was working as a social worker and a rehabilitation counselor while also pounding the San Francisco streets for jazz gigs. A young Duke was already making a name for himself in the city by playing weekends at the Half Note. One Sunday night jam session, Jarreau came up on stage and tore it up. The club owner immediately asked Jarreau if he would be willing to join George Duke’s trio on a regular basis. Jarreau leapt at the opportunity and worked with the George Duke Trio for three years, even recording a live LP. “We played together three years at that club; it closed in 1968 and George and I moved on. But that was a very important period for me,” Jarreau recalls.
My Old Friend extends the legacy of George Duke and remains yet another crowning jewel in Jarreau’s distinguished repertoire.