On Our Shelves Now
The inspiring story of an iconic singer from Milwaukee
This is the first biography to chronicle the life and career of one of the most distinguished and beloved musical artists to come out of Wisconsin: Al Jarreau. From his earliest days singing in the 1940s until his death in 2017, Jarreau defied categorization. While his biggest hit, “We’re In This Love Together,” is pure pop, he smashed music industry stereotypes as the first artist to win Grammy Awards in three genres: jazz, pop, and R&B.
Never Givin’ Up traces Jarreau’s singing career from humble beginnings in his hometown of Milwaukee to international fame. The narrative includes his formative student days at Ripon College and the University of Iowa, as well as the years spent honing his craft at nightspots in Milwaukee, San Francisco, and the Twin Cities. After he was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1975 at the age of 35, Jarreau achieved stardom with his innovative vocal stylings and electric live performances.
This book includes more than 20 sidebars with bonus information about every Jarreau album and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the records. Author Kurt Dietrich conducted interviews with dozens of Al's friends, fellow musicians, professional associates, and family members—most notably Al’s sister, Rose Marie Freeman, who was a major contributor to the project. Featuring 54 images spanning Jarreau’s life, from never-before-seen family snapshots to stills from his legendary stage performances, Never Givin’ Up celebrates a Milwaukee hometown hero and global sensation.
About the Author
Kurt Dietrich is professor emeritus of music at Ripon College, where he was also Barbara Baldwin DeFrees Chair in the Performing Arts. He has written many articles and three books on jazz, including Wisconsin Riffs: Jazz Profiles from the Heartland from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. He earned degrees from Lawrence University, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He plays trombone with various groups around Wisconsin.