Emergency back surgery has abruptly taken Al Jarreau off the road. The veteran jazz vocalist underwent a procedure early yesterday (Sept. 12) morning at Los Angeles' USC Medical Center to relieve comp

Emergency back surgery has abruptly taken Al Jarreau off the road. The veteran jazz vocalist underwent a procedure early yesterday (Sept. 12) morning at Los Angeles' USC Medical Center to relieve compression on his spinal cord.

"This became urgent as I was not only experiencing a lot of pain in my upper back and arms, but my walking and balance has progressively worsened over the last eight weeks," Jarreau explained in a letter to his fans on his official Web site. He further detailed that diagnostics indicated the surgery was needed to relieve "a compression on the spinal cord between number 7-cervical vertebrae and number 1-Thorasic vertebrae."

A statement from his label, GRP Records, noted that Jarreau's surgeon described the operation as a common procedure, and said that "everything is expected to proceed without incident." Jarreau's post said that he expects to update on Sunday or Monday via his site.

Recently honored as Verizon's National Literacy Champion for 2002, Jarreau was in the midst of a tour in advance of the Sept. 17 release of his latest GRP album, "All I Got." Proceeds from the album are being donated to Verizon Reads, a charity established to benefit literacy across the country.

Jarreau was next due to perform Sept. 20 in Chicago and Sept. 21 in New York. All of his upcoming U.S. dates, which included appearances through early November, will be rescheduled as soon as possible. A European tour planned for later this year will be pushed into 2003.

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