5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203
Monday February 19, 2018 – The Portland Jazz Festival presents Breakin’ Away a Tribute to Al Jarreau featuring vocalist Sean Holmes and conguero/percussionist Bobby Torres. Read about the Torres & Jarreau Jazz Connection below. For this special tribute to Al Jarreau, Bobby Torres has put together a fantastic set of some of Al’s most memorable hits. This special event features vocalist Sean Holmes backed by Dan Gaynor on piano, Alex Milstedt on both keys and sax, Israel Annoh on drums, Carmelo Torres also on drums and percussion, Al Criado on bass, Dashel Ruiz Perez on guitar and, of course, Bobby Torres on congas and percussion. More information – Theater location at the University of Portland, actual show times, ticketing links, etc. to follow. Please check back for updates!
The Torres & Jarreau Jazz Connection: Bobby Torres and Al Jarreau formed the roots of their friendship in 1971 at Dante’s and at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles. Bobby remembers “Al regularly played at Dantes. He was a vocal freak back then. He could imitate musical instruments. His flute imitation was exceptional”. Over the next 8 years, they hung out at Bobby’s place, played together, listened to music, and started families – each growing in their own musical careers including US and World tours – Al with his band and Bobby with the Beach Boys, Mark Almond, Linda Carter, Etta James, the Captain & Tennille and others culminating in his 10 year tour with Tom Jones. In between shows, recordings and tours, Bobby and Al would hook up and hang out. Bobby hand made and also repaired shekeres (beaded gourds) for Al. In performance, Al became known for playing Bobby’s beautiful shekeres. Eventually, Bobby moved to Portland. Like destined souls, geography and time were unable to break their bond. In 1991 the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival brought Al to Portland. Listening to Ron Steen’s Jam at the Polo Lounge, they drank heavily, laughed, talked, and mourned their time apart. Bobby recalls, “Al alternated between singing and crying while he spoke. It was remarkable”. In 2011, Bobby made a shekere for Al and gave it to him at the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival. Al was so thrilled that he put a chair right on the stage for Bobby and his wife Carole. As he sang, Al played the shekere and laughed – gesturing to Bobby as if using some secret code only they knew. After the show, they talked for close to an hour. Bobby sensed that he would not see Al again. The next day, Bobby was inspired to write a song for Al called “Ghosts of Destiny”. It is an interesting coincidence that Al Jarreau died February 12, 2017 and Bobby Torres birthday is February 12.