Entertainment Weekly - p.89
"Jarreau's tinny tenor, loose vibrato, and percussive scat have always borne odd charms." - Grade: B-
Down Beat - pp.60-13 stars out of 5
- "There is something for everyone here - a mix of familiar standards, some good ballads, a couple of pop-flavored rhythms tunes and, for the sake of proper credentialing, a few jazz evergreens."
JazzTimes - p.136
"ACCENTUATE stands as Jarreau's most assured jazz outing..."
Personnel: Al Jarreau (vocals); Al Jarreau; Larry Goldings (Hammond b-3 organ); Larry E. Williams, Larry Williams , Larry Willis (keyboards); Christian McBride (bass instrument); Anthony Wilson (guitar); Tollak Ollestad (harmonica); Keith Anderson (tenor saxophone); Russell Ferrante (piano); Peter Erskine, Mark Simmons (drums); Luis Conte (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Al Schmitt.
Recording information: Capitol Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Rocky Schenck.
Arrangers: Larry E. Williams; Larry Willis.
Al Jarreau's career has had some ups and downs, but, through it all, the versatile vocalist has kept his impressive craft on point. This is certainly true on 2004's ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE, which finds Jarreau giving a contemporary spin to standards and songs in the mode of classic bop and swing. Jarreau's breathy, nuanced tenor and the jazzy embellishments that characterize his delivery are especially well suited to the program here. "The Nearness of You," for example, is given new life by Jarreau's sweet, elastic phrasing, while the chugging, funky twist on the title track features his unfaltering sense of rhythm.
Jarreau's vocal additions to instrumental jazz classics (Dizzy Gillespie's "Groovin' High") prove him heir to the throne established by singing innovator Eddie Jefferson, and his work on more traditional balladry (the smoothly shuffling "My Foolish Heart") is equally impressive. Abetted by fine session men on the order of Christian McBride (bass), Anthony Wilson (guitar), and Peter Erskine (drums), Jarreau has made a solid and thoroughly enjoyable album that will appeal to aficionados of classic vocal and instrumental jazz, and well as fans of his work in the adult-contemporary vein.