Over Al Jarreau
Al Jarreau's career mirrors George Benson's -- both are complex jazz artists who draw from a plethora of influences and both have found so much success in the R&B field that it has taken them away from the jazz idioms they have mastered. If Jarreau had started his career earlier he would probably be a respected -- and broke -- jazz singer. But he has learned to slip in a few masterful improvisatory pieces in with his Adult Contemporary and R&B bread and butter. Thankfully, his commercial material is very good, but hip-hop has somewhat impacted the popularity of many solid Soul singers and Jarreau has concentrated on doing more jazz material during the last few years. 1994's Tenderness is a breathtaking mainstream document of an artist at the top of his game. Jarreau continues to spellbind audiences at jazz festivals around the world.