Al Jarreau

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With a restrained yet potent funk band and a few cameos from luminaries in the jazz world, Al Jarreau gets plenty of opportunities to wrap his rubbery, ever-changing timbre around an agreeable collection of tunes, the majority of which he wrote or co-wrote. Of the cover tunes, Jarreau completely transforms Kenny Loggins' "Wait a Little While," the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" and Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" into personal vehicles for vocal acrobatics, and his own "Fly" revives his uncanny ability to skitter and sail along with a Brazilian-based rhythm track. Freddie Hubbard puts in a soulful guest appearance on flugelhorn on Dave Frishberg's "I'm Home" and applies a more outgoing obligato to "Fly"; Lee Ritenour and Paulinho Da Costa also make appearances on the record. While Jarreau could still be technically classified as a jazz singer at this point, he is really inhabiting a zone of his own.

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