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In the Mood

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Trumpet maestro Herb Alpert is a musical icon, and his horn playing has always been a pied piper’s dream—you can’t help but follow. It’s entrancing and sexy-cool, channeling heart and soul the same way a gifted singer does. Here, the 79-year-old blends a wild array of durable standards with warm originals: He reconsiders his Tijuana Brass exquisitely on “Spanish Harlem” and covers in tribute to The Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do Is Dream” and “Let It Be Me.” There’s a cultural stew of percussive styles underpinning his reimagining of “America the Beautiful.” “Sneaky” sneaks in jazzy curves while the classical guitar, pensive trumpet, and swelling strings pull Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine” through some urbane jungleland. The electronic-fortified “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is hardly your granddad’s Glenn Miller, and Rodgers & Hart’s “Blue Moon” has never sounded so funked up. Though the album is mostly instrumental, Alpert’s wife, the remarkable singer Lani Hall, contributes. Her vocal on “5am” feels like an autumnal sunrise.

Customer Reviews

Put You In A Great Mood!

I've listened to this about a dozen times already and I keep digging it more each time. One of the first things I noticed is the rather short times on many songs - between 2:30 and 3:30 for the most part, conjuring up memories of the records of old. That may explain why this album has been so easy to listen to. It seems this is a bit more pop oriented, although Herb does get in some brief jazz solos here and there.

"Chattanooga" starts things off in a bit of a techno sound. "Blue Moon" has a bit of the Colors feel to it to start before breaking into a light swing on the bridge. Some nice horn work towards the end of the tune. "Zoo Train" has a bit of "Sugarloaf" feel to it (from Fandango) with Herb doing a really nice laid-back horn solo. One of my faves for sure. The Artie Shaw standard "Begin The Beguine" follows. This is one of those songs I got tired of playing when I was doing big band gigs but here they do a fresh approach to it. Nothing too fancy here. "Don't Cry" has that "Summertime" rhythm loop first recorded by Herb in 1971. This is probably my favorite cut. I think Bill Cantos' voice comes close to what Herb sang on the original and fits in beautifully with Lani Hall's voice. Love the lyrics on this, as well as the little scat vocals at the 1:50 mark. Really hip song!

"Ol' Man River" is the biggest surprise to me. I wasn't really expecting a lot with this tune, especially since I'm not a big fan of the song. But they really turned this into an amazing performance, with its jazzy rhythms and quirky string work. Lovely solo by Herb as well. "Let It Be Me" is a gorgeous ballad. Really love the bass work by Hussain Jiffry. This eventually breaks into a quasi-TJB feel. "Spanish Harlem" is more of a straight read, with a bit of a trumpet solo at the end. Another on of my favorites is "5 a.m." which has a great melody to it as well as a cool chord progression. Lovely vocal by Lani with her sultry approach. I find myself hitting the repeat button on this one!

The beginning of "Morning" reminds me of some incidental music that Herbie Hancock wrote for the "Death Wish" movie. Eerie and mysterious. A perfect vehicle for Herb. Love how the rhythm section worked together on this track. "When Sunny Gets Blue" is another lovely ballad that probably would've fit well on the Midnight Sun album as well. Eduardo del Barrio has those strings doing a bit of "outside" work. Very nice. "Amy's Tune" is an uptempo little romp. Love Michael Shapiro's brush work on drums. Cute little tune. "All I Have To Do Is Dream" is another nice ballad. I swear Herb is getting to be a master of playing ballads. A bit of a TJB trumpets sound towards the end.

"Sneaky" has a bit of soulful funk to it. Love the groove on this tune! I even picked up a trumpet and played along with this for a bit (which prompted my wife to ask "just what do you think you're doing???"). "Conversation" is another ballad played rather sweetly by Herb. Nice melody on this track! Nice interplay between Herb and Bill. And finally there's "America The Beautiful" done rather poignantly with much bravado towards the end before Herb ends the tune by himself.

All in all a very satisfying album to listen to!

Herb Marches On!

I love the first track with Herb playing a great new arrangement of this classic big band tune Chatanooga cho cho. Can't wait to hear the rest of this release. Solid.

Herb's back, as good as ever!

What a great sound! Unmistakably Herb (sounding as good as he ever has) yet very bouncy and groovy in a get-up-and-dance kind of way. Such a fun arrangement of the classic Chattanooga Choo Choo! Can't wait to hear the rest of the album. If it lives up to the first track, it's gonna be classic!

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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In the Mood, Herb Alpert
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