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Jazz legend and UI alum to visit

BY RACHEL GREEN | SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 5:00 AM

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Music legend Al Jarreau will visit the University of Iowa this week to talk with UI community members and students in addition to performing in Soulfest.

Jarreau earned a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation from the UI College of Education, after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ripon College in Wisconsin.

“I came to the University of Iowa mainly to get my degree in rehabilitation counseling but also looking for opportunities to do music,” Jarreau said. “There were some very fundamental years of my life at Iowa. I’m really happy to be coming to Iowa, and I hope it’s the start of something big.”

Jarreau is considered a jazz legend, although he has also sung pop and R&B. He received seven Grammy Awards for his work and is one of the few artists who won Grammys in those three categories.

In his career, he has had more than 38 singles top charts all over the world.

Currently, he continues to tour worldwide with his sextet and symphony shows. He is also working on a new album.

“It’s really unexpected that we would have someone like Al Jarreau … have his path come through Iowa,” said Ben Kieffer, who hosts two shows on Iowa Public Radio and will host a talk with Jarreau at the end of this week.

The Iowa Public Radio talk is today, from 3-4 p.m. in the Lindquist Center. It will include a question and answer session, in which the audience can either write their questions on paper or ask Jarreau openly.

“He will be talking to an audience of people who had to be a lot like him,” Kieffer said. “They are questioning what they should do with their life and what their calling is, just like every college student is, even though he was here 50 years ago.”

While this talk is free, there is a limited amount of seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Although the interview is not being broadcast live, it will be recorded and may be broadcast at a future date.

Soulfest will run from Friday and Saturday, and will be located on the Pentacrest and on Clinton Street. It will feature a variety of performers.

Jarreau was brought to Soulfest through Hancher Auditorium’s partnership with Soulfest and its sponsor, Summer of the Arts. This is Hancher’s second year partnering with the festival.

In addition to his performance and interview with Kieffer, Jarreau will speak with a group of around 20 students majoring in music education and will be making an appearance at the UI’s African American Council reception on Friday.

“Anytime you can connect an alum who has done amazing things back to the university creates amazing experiences for all involved,” said Charles Swanson, the executive director of Hancher. “…He is a legend, a star, one of the finest vocalists when it comes to jazz, blues, soul, R&B, and the special part is that he is a graduate of the University of Iowa.”


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