Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Wow! What a headline marquee. I can tell you for sure that it’s a real honor and special “recognition” to be invited to do your stuff in this prestigious renowned venue. Disney Concert Hall is the jewel in the crown of a new ultra-modern performing arts complex in downtown LA, and the new home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Big?!?! We got lost trying to make sound check on time (architects on steroids). But we found our way, as we would do that very evening.

We found our way through a brand new program of music with a different approach and presentation. About three months ago, my music director Joe Turano (keyboards, saxes, vocals) came to me and said Walt Disney Hall is coming soon and we might want to do something special in that unique setting in Los Angeles—A brand new symphony concert hall—new home of the LA Symphony… something close and intimate. He said he had some ideas and would get back to me real soon.

He did and said that he’s been in the band for 10 years now and it’s occurred to him that there’s a real treasure trove of music that introduced ‘Al Jarreau’ to the world and began the journey… and that people would love to hear and rediscover that music today, now!

He went on to say that the Look to the Rainbow album and period is where I made that really warm personal connection with people that has been my hallmark signature and continues to this day.

Long story short, we reconfigured the band around me really close in, with a grand piano and all of it closer to the front of the stage, and proposed a new set of music that begins with a cool bubbling slow burn intro vamp to Look to the Rainbow. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the set included Sweet Potato Pie, We Got By, She’s Leaving Home, and Easy. Unheard for years!

We’ve reminded ourselves to not neglect those really important crossover songs, but for the moment we’ll keep refining this fresh approach and pray it works in 2010.

Don Heckman, music reviewer for the LA Times accurately wrote that it took a little time for Al to get comfortable at Disney in the round, but I did, and it was a strong performance. At 70, Jarreau is still at the top of his game.

Of the evening as a whole, he said, “The combination of Al Jarreau and Dee Dee Bridgewater, performing at Disney Hall Sunday night on the same stage was an inspired booking. One could make a good case for the event as a rare display of brilliant jazz singing at the highest level.”

Thank you Los Angeles, Dee Dee, Disney Concert Hall!

Love, Al

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