Oh, you Buckeyes! How I love you Buckeyes! And yes, I know what a Buckeye is, it’s more than a football team.  Way bigger than a chestnut. Oops, sorry! Just havin’ fun. Fact: I know for sure that I’ve played more dates in the state of Ohio during my career than in any other state in the union. Fact: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation in so far as big important elections, while the hawkeyes of Iowa are right in there too. But their total population doesn’t approach the total population of Ohio voters and there’s a huge number of people from that population who have been Jarreau fans since the first record. They’ve come to concerts at Bogarts, Tri-City Jazz Festival, Ohio Theatre… etc …, oh, you Buckeyes, indeed! *See foot note*

Each and every time I’ve come to Cincinnati, I find myself exclaiming to myself, “Wow, they did it! They saved their down town! They kept their wonderful solid structures from the city’s early beginnings, including red brick warehouses, and lovely great buildings that housed the first businesses office buildings and department stores and restaurants and shops. They saved it!!!” And it feels so good to drive through down town and see PEOPLE! People going about their wonderful day of going to and from work, popping into a coffee shop, or John’s Hamburger Joint, which has been there for 50 years. This scene is disappearing in America. But ongratulations, Cincinnati- you did it, I love you for that. It makes me feel so good and reassured.

That’s what I felt last night, when I drove into town. When we got to the hotel, I saw Jackie, who surprised me and the guys. She is a very lovely wonderful rep. from the hotel’s front office. Her enthusiasm is so warm and gracious, that it really overflows.   And then when I went to my room, I looked out my window and “glory be,” there below me, was ice skating rink like Rockefeller Center Plaza in New York. I shouted to Brian, my assistant, “Look at that!” He smiled and also said, “wow.” Brian is from California and seeing people ice skate before his eyes was quite something; on the other hand,  it transports me to a time in Milwaukee, when I was in grade school, and junior high school, and was at a skating rink just like this. Not as fancy, they flooded the baseball field at Garfield Park, where they even had a pavilion where you could get a hot chocolate and warm up.

Show Day! I took a quick peek out the window, just to be sure the skating rink was still there. It was. And we headed off to sound check.

And there it was again, the spirit of Cincinnati! An old theater that’s been saved and kept functioning, AND this one’s with me and Jeffrey Osborne. One of you rascals out there is reading this and thinking, “yeah Al, old things still functioning.” And you’re right! You better believe it, baby. Bring your mama, bring your papa, we gonna do it for real. No lip-syncing, no pre-recorded anything. Real people doing it for real, with a happy healthy intention.

As I start singing “Mornin’,” I know that out there, somewhere, is some Sam Moore, from grade school and junior high school, and high school, and he was just in Milwaukee in the front row, with Jesse Nixon, and Willy Luster three weeks ago. I smile inside and feel warm and good. When he smiles and calls back to me, “yeah, Al, I’m here!”

I could hear Jeffrey and the audience from my dressing me, and believe me, the place was on fire. Jeffrey hits hard, folks. He’s got a big voice, with great range, and almost sounds classically trained with a funky edge. He’s a friend of George Duke’s, too. He sang on my new George Duke celebration record.

When we sang “My Old Friend,” I was kind of peeking over my shoulder to see if Jeffrey would come over and sing with me as he did on the record. Nope, not this time, but that did not stop me and the band from just “killing it” on this new sensitive arrangement of “My Old Friend.” Oh, by the way, check this out, here’s one for you, “My Old Friend” was written by the same guys who wrote “Nita Koo”: I will be here for you. Richard Paige and Steve George, originally from Pages, who became Mister Mister, and they are, in fact, a couple of blue-eyed, blonde haired “valley boys”, from Los Angeles. Don’t ya love it? You should.

We’ve returned to “We Got By,” and “Midnight Sun,” these days, and here is another audience that is right with us in lovin’ it all. That causes other stuff to sparkle, like old “Roof Garden,” and “Boogie Down.” We bowed a long time and headed for the lobby, to sign CD’s and autographs. This was a long one, but way cool that people are buying lots of CD’s after concerts. You can’t walk into a record store anymore. What a loss, but how wonderful tonight that we can sell CD’s right here after the gig. Great to say hi to Sam Moore and his son, who looks exactly like Sam, big broad smile, great spirit and attitude. We also said hi to Jackie’s son, all grown up now… 13 or 14, smile. So thank you again, Cincinnati, happy holidays, every day is Thanksgiving.


*Fact: I went to school at University of Iowa’s rehabilitation counseling program; however, I’ve only played three or four times in Iowa (all at the university) in my career since I started recording and touring.

Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.