BREAKIN' AWAY was certainly an apt title for Al Jarreau's 5th Vocalese Exploration released in 1981 to incredible commercial and critical success. This album followed a #2 Jazz chart (ALL FLY HOME, my personal favorite released in '78) and a #1 Jazz chart (THIS TIME released in '80); in and of itself, a huge and unanticipated success story. Manhattan Transfer and Al Jarreau were top of the Jazz heap when it came to Vocalese, a rather narrow subgenre but one which easily lends itself to crossover success in R&B and Pop as well as Jazz. That then, is where the success of BREAKIN' AWAY stepped up to the plate. There was a slight movement on THIS TIME towards an R&B inflected flavor in his signature jazz sound, so while reaching #1 on the Jazz charts it also reached #6 on the R&B charts. For the casual fan of Jarreau, who is familiar with a few or more of his songs (probably drawing you to this album) but is purchasing one of his older albums for the first time, this is the natural...
Own the original LP and after Al passed away last month bought it on CD. Saw him perform at The Greek outdoor theater in Berkeley when he was promoting this album many years ago. This CD always bring back great memories.
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