Friday, March 05, 2021

before he was famous, Al Jarreau worked at Allis Chalmers, picking tractor parts out of of dusty, dirty tractor parts bins (Thanks RLK!)

 So there I was, fresh out of high school in 1959 on the Allis Chalmers payroll for the summer only. 

My job was to roam about a huge warehouse (three floors, each the size of a football field) picking tractor parts from thousands of bins. 

It was not unusual to go for hours without seeing another person. So you can imagine my surprise when I got off the elevator one day hearing this absolutely perfect jazz scatting Ella herself could not match.

 I pushed my little cart towards the sound, looking down each row of bins for it’s source. Finally, there it was, this tall guy with a head as shiny as a cue ball. I startled him a bit and he quit singing. He smiled and after a moment of silence I said, “Hey man, I thought Jon Hendricks had come to town.”

 He laughed, took a few steps toward me, extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m Al Jarreau.” 

 “Pleasure to meet you Al, I’m Bob.” 

That’s my claim to fame. I worked at Allis Chalmers in Milwaukee with Al Jarreau, picking tractor parts out of of dusty, dirty tractor parts bins.  The icing on the cake was meeting Al’s father. He worked at A-C as well and would wait for Al outside the warehouse at quitting time. The three of us would walk to the plant gate every day. I don’t recall the father’s first name, but the guy was as cordial and gracious as they come. Al was a stone cold knock-off of his father. Al left us a couple of years ago, but I’ll always remember his friendly, “Hi, I’m Al Jarreau.” RIP Al.

stuff like that? Never shows up in Wikipedia, or any other site.

Thanks RLK for taking the time to type that up and share it!

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