Al Jarreau hits you with all he's got on his second release for the GRP/Verve recording label. The 11-song program, appropriately titled All I Got, features Jarreau's imaginative vocal stylings, lots of innovative urban sensibilities, and top-tier performances from a stellar band that includes his longtime musical director, Freddie Ravel, and a duet with guest star Joe Cocker. Urban innovation is more than a buzzword here. The urban sound of producer Paul Brown imparts a soulful message on such songs as "Random Act of Love,""Secrets of Love," the title track, and the very hip a cappella rendition of "Route 66," each of which reflects Jarreau's pioneered use of unfolding a musical story layer by layer. A prime example is his reverse take on street violence called "Random Act of Love," something this world desperately needs. Instead of just another range of excessive scatting and vocal gymnastics, Jarreau presents his listeners with real-world concepts that make a difference in your interpretations of these aural pleasures. He becomes a vehicle of revelation on the gospel-tinged "Feels Like Heaven to Me." On the other side of his musical personality is the lovely fullness of "Until You Love Me" and "Jacaranda Bougainvillea," both of which feature a string orchestra set against an oasis of vocal skills. Overall, All I Got showcases the award-winning Jarreau's unmistakable stylistic diversity in settings that are fluid, soulful, jazzy, and romantic. In some ways, the music even exceeds the versatility heard on the critically acclaimed Tomorrow Today.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein
feat: Joe Cocker