Never Givin’ Up

This week's review chronicles the life of musical artist Al Jarreau in commemoration of Black Music Month.

Never Givin’ Up: The Life and Music of Al Jarreau

Dietrich, Kurt. Wisconsin Historical Society, 2023
400p bibl index, 9781976600197 $28.95, 9781976600203

Never Givin' Up: The Life and Music of Al Jarreau book cover.

Al Jarreau (1940–2017) was an African American vocal artist of unusual versatility. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, into a musical family, and began singing at age four. He went on to pursue other interests—he majored in psychology as a student at Ripon College and then moved to California to work as a rehabilitation counsellor—but he performed music on the side. Jarreau attracted favorable attention and got his first record contract when he was 35 years old. His singing career took off, and he toured with great success thereafter. He took joy in singing. Remarkably, he excelled in jazz, pop, and R&B, and he was the first artist to win Grammy awards in all three categories. Except for one book in German, this is the only full-length biography of him. Dietrich (emer., Ripon) is a jazz specialist. For his book he conducted exhaustive research on Jarreau, consulting a variety of written resources and interviewing a large number of Jarreau’s friends, family members, and musical associates. Written in an approachable style and carefully documented, this book will be valuable for fans and researchers of Jarreau’s music.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; professionals.
: D. Arnold, University of North Texas
Interdisciplinary Subject: African and African American Studies
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Music
Choice Issue: Jul 2024

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