Latin Conference & Awards

Accentuate the Positive

With "Accentuate the Positive," the acclaimed R&B/pop singer finally returns to his jazz roots.

With "Accentuate the Positive," the acclaimed R&B/pop singer finally returns to his jazz roots. Tommy LiPuma, who produced Jarreau's 1977 jazz vocal Grammy Award-winner, "Look to the Rainbow," orchestrates the reunion. Helping the pair set the mood are 11 top-notch jazz musicians, including bassist Christian McBride and pianist Russell Ferrante. LiPuma's understated production and the musicians' acoustic rhythms provide the perfect harmonic playground for Jarreau's vocal gymnastics. Whether crooning and scatting or downshifting into soulful and sensual territory, the versatile tenor never fails to delight on a set that ranges from jazz standards to American songbook classics. Jarreau also exercises his writing chops, penning lyrics to the Dizzy Gillespie jam "Groovin' High" and Don Grolnick's "Lotus." But it is his co-written tribute to jazz vocal legend Betty Carter ("Betty Bebop's Song") that truly hits home.—GM