Markham, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I’m always “crying in my beer” about almost never getting to come to Canada. There’s any number of towns where people must have heard of this “Wild and Crazy Guy” from Milwaukee. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and would you believe Calgary? I played Calgary in 1969! Well, I opened for Steppenwolf. Well… you get the idea.

And so, last night, there we were in Markham. “Markham, you say?” It’s home to the Canadian headquarters of Honda, Oracle, IBM, and others. It’s part of the Greater Toronto Area, and I’m really really happy to say that 2 years ago, we did play in the city at JazzFM’s Jazz Lives Festival. It was fantastic. And we also got over to the West Coast and did Vancouver. I could live in either of these wonderful cities.

The run up to last night’s performance was terrific. Interviews with all the major local stations with DJs who really knew me and what I do. So finally, it is great to report some continuing and renewed interest in “Al Jarreau” at this time and date in my career. Eric, the Flato Markham Theater’s director, and David from JazzFM went on and on about some guy named Al Jarreau that they were about to introduce. One of them even used the word “Legend’ry”

There were 530 seats, intimate and up close, and true to the North American continent, only a couple of teenagers. There was a nine year-old lad in the front row named Logan. We met and shook hands, and I told him how glad I was to see him there, and thanked his mom and dad for telling him about some alternatives to typical teen music. I’ll say it again, real loudly and clearly, that it’s wonderful to make new friends in new towns, and communities that are watching and seeing a guy and his musicians do what they do. When it’s fresh and new for them, they send to you onstage an energy that is recognizably fresh and new: Eyes wide and delighted and an enthusiastic response that just re-energizes your own already enthusiastic efforts. And so it went. Somewhere along the evening I talked about my red handkerchief that my wife gave me as she “sent me off to battle,” and that I often wear around my wrist in concert. I mentioned days of old and Shakespeare, and in the process made a small hello and nod to Laurence Fishbourne, who years ago played Othello brilliantly, and was in the audience last night.

We did an intermission program that totaled about 120 minutes with lots of singing along and great playing and solos by the band. And they really recognized and applauded all of the solo work. And by the time we returned with two encores we had served up and shared a very satisfying evening of music.

We sold out of all of our CDs and then signed programs and took photos for over an hour. My niece Jocelyn was there and celebrated her birthday with us, and I sang the song. That was really fun. We definitely made some new friends of the audience and hall officials and sponsors with everybody talking about, “Y’all come back now, ya hear!” I’m ready.

Off we go to Earl Klugh and Spyro Gyra in South Carolina!

Thanks, Love,



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