Feb 262017
 

from GIMME WHAT YOU GOT (single)

written by Tom Canning & Al Jarreau

On February 12, the music world observed the loss of supreme jazz/pop singer Al Jarreau (March 12, 1940 to February 12, 2017). His God-given talents, unique voice and superior skills are going to be greatly missed by his many fans and refined music lovers worldwide. To honor his memory and outstanding musical legacy, the “Song Of The Week” picked one of his many splendid composition titled “Gimme What You Got.” Originally included on Jarreau’s 1980 album This Time, “Gimme What You Got” was one of those breezy gems that helped define the Los Angeles pop sound of that unforgettable era. This Time marked the first collaboration between the Milwaukee-born singer and producer/guitarist extraordinaire, Jay Graydon.

The former Airplay member was suggested for the job by his bandmate David Foster who had to turn down Jarreau’s production offer. Graydon and Jarreau went on to craft a string of masterpiece albums that were bestsellers as well as Grammy darlings. Foster co-wrote a few evergreen hits with Graydon and Jarreau like “Mornin’,” “Save Me,” “After All” and added his golden keyboard touch to many tracks.

 One jewel from This Time was the aforementioned “Gimme What You Got,” a sophisticated ballad co-written by Jarreau with his then-musical director, Tom Canning. The sparkling musical architecture conceived by Graydon was delivered by Foster on the acoustic piano, Canning on Fender Rhodes, Michael Omartian on synths, the late Carlos Vega (December 7, 1956 to April 7, 1998) on drums, Abe Laboriel on bass, Graydon taking on the rhythm guitar and unmistakable flugelhorn licks by Jerry Hey. “Gimme What You Got” also sported a fantastic vocal performance by Jarreau. Although Jarreau had jazz beginnings, he proved himself a masterful pop/r&b singer. The song’s splendid melody, memorable hook and irresistible beat deserved to be a hit single, yet it still managed to reach #63 on the R&B charts. The songs parent album became a multi-format hit for the singer, reaching the Top 40 on Billboard’s 200 at #27, #6 on the R&B Album chart and #1 on the Jazz chart.

 To round out this review, here are a few lines that David Foster dedicated to the late vocalist:

 “The first time I saw Al was in a small club in the valley. The place was packed! This was way before his first recording. Al was mesmerizing, doing incredible stuff that was completely new to me. Later on, his relationship with Jay Graydon became a milestone. They were made for each other. Jay’s amazing pop and jazz skills fit perfectly [with] the music that Al wanted to do and the audiences he wanted to reach. Neither of them compromised and the results were stunning, album after album. I am so proud to have been part of those recordings, but it was Jay and Al who directed the flow and decided the direction. Very few jazz artists have ever walked that comfy in the jazz, r&b and pop worlds the way that Al did for so many decades.”

 Rest in peace, Al.


Listen

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Lead & Backing Vocals: Al Jarreau
Electric Guitar & Synthesizer Programming: Jay Graydon
Drums: Carlos Vega
Bass: Abe Laboriel
Fender Rhodes: Tom Canning
Piano: David Foster
Flugelhorn: Jerry Hey
Strings Synthesizer: Michael Omartian

Rhythm Arrangements by Al Jarreau, Jay Graydon & Tom Canning
Produced by Jay Graydon


Lyrics

We made it through
The stormy weather
We promised we would
Stay together
We fell out of harmony
Singing Auld Lang Syne
But I’ve just found a
4-leaf clover
So blue the sky all
Over me and you
We are a symphony-
A sunny valentine
Don’t resign

Gimme what you got, babe
And I’ll be satisfied
Gimme what you got, babe
And love will turn the tide
Gimme what you got babe

And always sing keep loving me
Forever more

We made a ship to sail the seasons
To conquer all the waves and reasons
Why we never touched the shore
Or found the treasure you adore
Love’s so fine

Ahead of us is stormy weather
We’ll cuddle up and stay together
Finally a symphony (will sing)
And sing it one more time.
Don’t resign.