Jazz at the Fort Garry Hotel
- Sunday, Dec 17, 2023 at 6:30pm
- Ministers of Cool
- Fort Garry Hotel
- 222 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Winnipeg’s favourite R&B ensemble, Ministers of Cool, present an evening of hits from the Al Jarreau songbook. Featuring guitarist and musical director Larry Roy and special guest vocalist Zachary Rushing, this evening pays tribute to Al Jarreau’s genre-defying career with hits and hidden gems from his four decades'-worth discography.
The Ministers of Cool have long been a cornerstone R&B ensemble in Winnipeg since their initial configuration with Greg Lowe on guitar and Gerry Atwell on keys. Every current performance by the Ministers is a de facto tribute to the ensemble’s former members. Current musical director Larry Roy is known for his jazz guitar but the Ministers allow to him to revisit his pop/RnB roots with some ripping guitar solos.
Special guest Zachary Rushing is a singer, songwriter, and lyricist, who exists comfortably in a myriad of different artistic settings. His musical performances encompass jazz, pop, rock, cabaret songs, and more. Audiences may also recognize him as the Programs Manager of Jazz Winnipeg, where he spends his workdays helping to promote the rich and vibrant culture of jazz in Winnipeg.
About Al Jarreau: The only vocalist in history to net Grammy Awards in three different categories (jazz, pop, and R&B), Al Jarreau was a virtuoso performer who balanced smooth lyricism with his own innovative brand of vocalese. Initially emerging in the late '60s, Jarreau drew audiences with his dynamic blend of jazz balladry and vocalese. By the '70s, he had caught the industry's attention and delivered a series of highly acclaimed crossover albums, including 1977's Grammy Award-winning Look to the Rainbow: Live in Europe, that found him tackling a mix of stylistically varied cover songs as well as his own emotive originals. Although his skills were based in jazz, his albums found him just as adept at interpreting folk, R&B, pop, and funk. This wide adaptability, paired with his warmly upbeat charisma, brought him huge success throughout the '80s and found him moving increasingly into the commercial pop sphere with sleek productions like 1981's Breakin' Away, which earned him two more Grammy Awards. Along with his own albums, he also made a cultural impact, contributing to the landmark charity album USA for Africa: We Are the World, and he reached an even broader audience as the singer and co-writer of the iconic theme to the '80s TV show Moonlighting. After his recordings slowed somewhat in the '90s, Jarreau returned to regular activity in the 2000s. He earned his 11th Grammy Award for his work on "God Bless the Child" with Jill Scott and George Benson from Scott's Collaborations in 2007, and issued a steady stream of his own recordings that, as with his final album, 2014's My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke, often found him returning to his jazz roots.