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Human Nature

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Album Review

Legendary pop and jazz icon Herb Alpert continues his prolific career run with his 2016 studio album, Human Nature. The album follows up his well-received 2014 effort, In the Mood, and picks up on that album's mix of electronic pop and Latin-inflected, dance-oriented grooves. In his eighties at the time of recording, he has aged into a soulful, lyrical musician able to bridge the light pop stylings of his youth with more introspective choices. Human Nature finds him completely engaged, continuing to explore new sounds and songs. Joining Alpert here are several longtime collaborators in producer/percussionist Michael Shapiro, producer/arranger/keyboardist Eduardo Del Barrio, bassist/guitarist Hussain Jiffry, keyboardist/arranger/producer Bill Cantos, and others. As with Alpert's other albums since coming out of a ten-year hiatus in 2009, Human Nature finds the trumpeter applying his distinctively sweet-toned sound to a nicely balanced combination of beloved pop standards, unexpected covers, and originals. Sometimes, as on the title track, an inspired Brazilian Mardi Gras-infused reworking of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," Alpert goes for an inventive cross-genre angle. Other times, as on his lush, romantic reading of the Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello-ballad "Look Up Again," he takes a more straightforward approach, framing his yearning Miles Davis-esque lines with reverb-soaked piano and shimmering orchestral strings. Alpert even draws upon his iconic Tijuana Brass double-tracked trumpet sound for a bright, electro-Latin take on the Burt Bacharach/Hal David classic "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," which also features vocals from his wife, muse, and frequent collaborator Lani Hall. Elsewhere, Alpert strikes a similarly pleasant, cross-genre stance with his originals, like the disco-salsa "Shake It" and the sophisticated, cocktail hour-ready Latin jazz of "Mystery Man." Ultimately, Human Nature is a warmly produced album by an artist who has seen and done it all, and yet still finds magic and mystery in the process.

Customer Reviews

Simply amazing!

I have been a Herb Alpert fan since I was a wee child on the 60s and he never disappoints. This collection is superb, and you'd never think by the sound that Herb Alpert has aged one bit. This is contemporary "pop jazz" at its finest, and Herb's signature sound is still there in full force. I'm no expert on jazz or brass instruments, but there's still that certain "something" about Herb's style that's always been there and will live on for eternity. We are indeed privileged to still have him creating his art and pleasing audiences around the world with his remarkable style and sense of melody. I hope he'll keep making albums that make us smile until he's 120! Bravo, Herb Alpert!

Biography

Born: March 31, 1935 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most successful instrumental performers in pop history, trumpeter Herb Alpert was also one of the entertainment industry's shrewdest businessmen: A&M, the label he co-founded with partner Jerry Moss, ranks among the most prosperous artist-owned companies ever established. Born March 31, 1935 in Los Angeles, Alpert began playing the trumpet at the age of eight. After serving in the Army, he attempted to forge an acting career, but soon returned to music, recording under the name Dore Alpert...
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Human Nature, Herb Alpert
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