In 1979 I was on the road with David Sanborn, and we ended up being the opening band for Al Jarreau. This was during his super-big pop years: He had those big hits, “We’re in This Love Together,” songs like that. So my first exposure to Al was seeing him perform for 5,000 people.
What really struck me at that time is that although he had those big hits, people really weren’t familiar with what Al had done outside of those songs, and he always gave them an education—enriched them in ways they probably didn’t expect to be enriched. He would make sure they got the full Al Jarreau. They always got the hits—but they got a whole lot more.