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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 6, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with grammy award-winning singer al jarreau. he has used his exceptional ground. find common we are glad you joined us. a conversation with al jarreau coming up.
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♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. hiss: al jarreau earned first grammy. he stays on to her. -- on tour. you are never in town long
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enough for a conversation. debuted, al jarreau was our guest on the first night. it is all because of you that i am here. have nothing to going on. i just love talking to you. >> i just mentioned tavis is a friend of al jarreau. tavis: i want to hear some al jarreau. let's take a clip of al jarreau on to her. -- on tour. ♪
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[portuguese singing] i still don't know if have it, but you've still got it. >> you definitely have it. you, tavissaying to for president. wish it uponif i you these days. trying to shut the government down, i don't want no
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part in that. you are always on the road. you are always in some strange part of the world. you're not tired of all this traveling? >> that part of everyday. everyday is thanks giving for me. i still have an audience, and they asked the local promoter, when is al coming back? i don't know what i would do anyway. tavis: how have you protected this instrument? >> i am closer to a baritone bass been trying to scream with those tender voices.
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i pushed my voice. i always try to stay fit. day, trying every to stay fit. to have too many bad habits. >> i went down on my knees in prayer, and i hated that you were so far from me i could not get you. i could not reach out to touch you, but i was rating for you. like tom a don't let that
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happen. like, don't let that happen. valves that were leaking, but i had not noticed anything until then. a couple of instances of but that of rest, really set me down for a few minutes. was in thelater i studio, and eight days later i was on stage. i'm not stopping. i asked this question because i am curious about when and where you came into the knowledge that this was your
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going gift, that you were to spend your life empowering .nd inspiring >> i sat next to my mother in church. happened before i set foot on this planet. -- aour brilliant pn brilliant pianist. i came here with something i inherited from my folks. you can call me out went. .- call me al got people interested in the
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story that includes an orchestra. i can't say a lot more about it, but we are going to tell the story about what happened. i was six or seven and singing. people smiled and pinched my cheeks until the blood vessels broke. i knew i was doing something right. i did a concert at five years in the garden. we raise money to buy a new pn iano at our church in milwaukee. i kind of knew something was going on. brothers were singing.
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i started singing. i didn't know i wasn't supposed to sing intervals like that. there it was right in front of me. it would later become part of my signature. just like our thumbprint makes us different from anyone in the world, you said we have a .humbprint on our throat your voice is distinctive in the world, and you have to give some volume to your voice. that was the most deeply philosophical thing i have
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heard. anyone who hears your voice in the middle of the night knows that is tavis smiley. they would know your voice .ecause of the textures >> you discovered this when you were five years old, but how did you become proficient. did you become so versatile in so many different genres? >> it's all listening and exposure.
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that's why it's so important to expose your kids do many different things. i can sing some poll codes. don't get me started. lkas.me po don't get me started. i'm proud of that. i watched elvis restfully become. -- elvis presley become. become.d chuck berry i listened to doo-wop before it was called doo-wop.
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♪ i did that in the airport. we took victors and started singing in an international airport. photos and started singing in an international airport. >> you were singing a cappella? >> our families go back to this little school in huntsville, alabama. they saying in a quartet.
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amazing, and that gets mentioned on stage. every day is thanksgiving. you're going to hear god. tavis: you're a class act. >> the thing is we need to keep some voices that hold some stuff. there are other voices making a bazillion dollars, and kids are listening. tavis: you mentioned take six. it was one of the
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great joys of your life where you were a kid growing up in milwaukee and to now have artist's as they break. times where people say he sounds like al jarreau. i remember kim, they said, he .ounds like al jarreau i assume it must be a huge that they compare them. you there is arn lot of money to be made. you don't want to be al jarreau. >> i do this for free and did it stillee a lot and would
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be doing it in some fashion for to make money had shining shoes. find something you would do for free. let that put the light in your eyes. it makes you a better husband, father, neighbor, citizen when you have that light in your eyes and you are a pleasant person to be around. did you find everything you need? that is on aisle seven? find something. it could be planting flowers. especially if you can do
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something where there was not something before. rearrange the furniture. tavis: i am glad you said that. senselways gotten the that part of what turns you on is the chance to create something every day. there are a couple of tracks i have heard you do a thousand but the way you do it with this orchestra. greatestall one of the love songs ever, or what? >> he wrote the music, and i did
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the lyrics. yes, it's a sweetheart love song. i like to say for one moment there was a place called camelot. toe used that in reference america where we have gotten beyond our differences. it might have even been a woman at the time. i like what happened in that song. we sing it every night. spain, butould be you never sing it the same way. you create something different
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every time. >> that's one of the commandments of improvisation. improvisation is happening right where guys 'n roll are improvising. step out there and venture and create something tonight that and let't do last night that person make you play a little differently than you did. there was a lady in the audience. that's the commandment. jazz brought this sense of democracy. marquee, may be on the
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but it's you. it takes a great deal of courage. improvise live on stage every day. show and telle show, then of the time they're going to play each song. sound, butway they there's no improvisation. you step out every night and improvise live in front of us. that takes a lot of courage. >> i've learned it from the people who have done it before.
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thank you for paying that wonderful complement. i would like to say it, but you did. tavis: you make mention of citizens. word i use. it the american people. i prefer fellow citizen. if you don't know -- if you know al jarreau you know he has thoughts about everything. just give me your thoughts about the nation. talk to me about how we are doing.
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>> there is a group. it's all the industrialized nations. we mention them because they are our friends. lead the world in things the world needs leadership in. amongst them, we are the only ones without national health care. hospitalt go to the and not worry about falling into bankruptcy. they go to university. we are killing our students with debt. that scares me. though 405 is the worst freeway
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to the airport i have driven on. our infrastructure is falling apart. somebody has threatened washington with you cannot raise tax dollars, and it has got to come from deep pockets. use our highways, use our airports, use our libraries, use our universities, and they hoard it away and sit in an office and moved the rose and decimal andts -- and move zeroes decimal points around. it breaks my heart. there are a lot of things that .eed some help
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>> i have two days to go, and i can do this for days. given all our fellow citizens are up against, when they take our money and choose to spend it to come see al jarreau, you're going to give them the best show you can give them, but given what the people are up against, umph inat put a little your performance? thatat's always been there my audience is not flush with money. these are people who work hard
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to see me. audience, but my audience has always been people who are struggling to stay in the middle class. everyday people. i've got 30 seconds. of our dearlys department friend, george duke. >> we celebrate george every night since he went back to the from which he came from. tavis: i love it. al jarreau is welcome on this show any time. first guestas my from my first show. we didn't want this to end
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without him paying a visit. him in town.ught >> tavis for president. isis: the latest project called " al jarreau and the metro orchestra live." i love you. give my best to susan. that's our show for tonight. as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with dennis haysbert and dilbert
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creator scott adams. that's next time. we'll see you then. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> be more. pbs.
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>> welcome to "film school shorts," a showcase of the most exciting new talent from across the country. experience the future of film, next on "film school shorts." "film school shorts" is made possible by a grant from maurice kanbar, celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image, and by the members of kqed.

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