Just You and Me
A&M Records SP-4591
Produced and arranged by Herb Alpert
All songs composed by Herb Alpert except "Yankee Doodle" (public domain)
Musicians: Herb Alpert, trumpets and piano; Russ Kunkel, drums; Jim Hughart, bass; Geoffrey Hales, percussion; Emil Richards, vibes, marimba, percussion and cymbalom; Ed Lustgarten, cello; Bob Edmondson, trombone; Lew McCreary, trombone; Ernie Watts, flute; Bill Green, flute; Terry Harrington, flute; Tom Tedesco, mandolin; Herb Alpert and Lani Hall, vocals.
Technically, the first song billed as a solo Herb Alpert recording was "This Guy's In Love With You". The first solo album is this one, and you won't find a Herb Alpert album with more divided opinions about it! To some, it is a good solo effort, charting new territory with a collection of Alpert-penned tracks. Highly personal, and very emotional, its songs are often in minor keys and shifting time signatures, reminiscent of Burt Bacharach's compositions. To others, it is a dark and somewhat gloomy (and I've heard the word "depressing") collection of marginally effective songs; in other words, the runt of the litter.
Nonetheless, it is a highly personal effort that, in one fell stroke, shatters the Tijuana Brass trademark sound for one that is Alpert's own. On TJB albums, we've only had hints of the songwriting style of Herb Alpert; this is the real thing. My own favorites here are the album opener "Promenade" and the disco-hinted "Musique", both uptempo tunes. "Aria" is haunting, and "Spanish Nights" is thoughtful with a slight flamenco flair to it. Equally significant is Alpert's choice of musicians. Only one familiar TJB face, Bob Edmondson, is found here. The others are well-known studio musicians, picked with Alpert's ear for good musical talent. This album is a stepping stone for the highly individual projects that Herb Alpert would record in the future.
Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela
A&M/Horizon Records CD-0819
Produced by Stewart Levine, Herb Alpert and Caiphus Semenya; associate producer Hugh Masekela.
Musicians: Herb Alpert (flugelhorn, trumpet), Hugh Masekela (flugelhorn), James Gadson (drums), Chuck Domanico (bass), Lee Ritenour (guitar), Freddie Harris (guitar), Arthur Adams (guitar), Hotep Cecil Barnard (piano), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Caiphus Semenya (piano), Ian Underwood (synthesizers), Louis Johnson (add'l bass on "Skokiaan"), Craig Hundley (synthesizer on "Happy Hanna"), Carlos Vega (drums on "Lobo"), Tommy Tedesco (acoustic guitar solo on "Lobo"), Michael Boddicker (synthesizer on "African Summer"), Spider Webb (drums on "African Summer"). Horns: Donald W. Cooke (trombone), George Bohanon (trombone), Sidney Isaac Muldrow (french horn), Marilyn L. Robinson (french horn), Maurice Spears (bass trombone). Letta Mbulu, Lani Hall, Caiphus Semenya, Hugh Masakela and Herb Alpert (background vocals).
A complete, 180-degree turn from Just You and Me, Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela is joyous and celebratory. Hugh Masekela is a well-known trumpet player from Africa, who coincidentally topped the chart immediately following Herb Alpert's "This Guys' In Love With You" with "Grazing In The Grass". Combining African ideas with jazz fusion and light funk, this was one of the most upbeat albums Alpert had recorded up until that time. Masekela's flugelhorn melded with Alpert's trumpet so well at times that it was often hard to tell them apart! Careful ears can easily distinguish the two by their playing styles. And to my ears, Alpert's experience with Masekela changed the way he approached the trumpet. I hear a definite change in his soloing with this album and all those that follow it.
The African influence is strong. Such tracks like "Happy Hanna" and "African Summer" have strong rhythms and beats in the African tradition. The old standard "Skokiaan" gets a disco treatment with Alpert and Masekela trading off licks. "Lobo" is a track composed by Brazilian music legend Edu Lobo, with an arrangement that touches on both South American and African influences. Overall, it's an enjoyable, happy and lively set by Herb and Hugh.
Main Event Live!
Produced by Herb Alpert, Hugh Masekela and Mosa Jonas Gwangwa; associate producer Don Hahn.
Musicians: Herb Alpert (trumpet), Hugh Masekela (flugelhorn), Mosa Jonas Gwangwa (trombone), Larry Willis (keyboards), Arthur Adams (guitar), Jeff Sigman (guitar), Manolo Badrena (percussion), David Williams (basses), Buddy Williams (drums). Also includes Tommy Tedesco (acoustic guitar solo, "Besame Mucho"), Michael Boddicker (synth programming), and string quartet: Charles Veal Jr., Kenneth Yerke, Denyse Buffum and Ray J. Kelly (orchestrated by Michel Colombier).
This second collaboration between Alpert and Masekela is as fruitful as the first. They are joined by African trombonist Mosa Jonas Gwangwa, who also contributed half of this albums tracks. As the title states, this album was recorded live in two locations: at the Roxy and at the A&M Sound Stage. It's a fine concert recording: the musicians are front and center, and the audience is in close proximity, giving this a "nightclub" feel.
The music is also good, and it's surprising that this album did not chart higher. The tunes provided by Gwangwa are very good, and the band also covers the hit "People Make The World Go 'Round" and the old classic "Besame Mucho". Featuring a primarily L.A.-based band of studio musicians, this album comes off very well. And all three front-line musicians trade off solos as though they've played together more than the several months they'd spent together.
Produced by Herb Alpert and Randy Badazz; associate producer Andy Armer.
If there was ever a breakthrough album for Alpert's solo career, Rise was it. This album began life in the studio as a recording session for disco versions of Tijuana Brass songs. Halfway through a funked-up "Lonely Bull", Alpert realized that the project would not fly. Since they had the studio time booked, and a new 3M digital recording system waiting to be tested, Alpert's nephew Randy Badazz mentioned trying a song that he and his buddy Andy Armer had written, entitled "Rise". Upon playing the tune, Herb reported that he had goosebumps, which was his barometer of a sure-fire hit. Thanks to exposure on the daytime soap opera General Hospital as part of the Luke and Laura storyline, and persistent airplay and exposure in dance clubs, Herb's song climbed all the way up to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks. (A trivia item here: most European 12" singles were recorded at 45RPM; since many DJs failed to notice the speed difference, Herb's song became a hit in Europe...at the wrong speed!)
The album Rise begins with an Alpert-penned fanfare for the new decade: "1980". "Rotation" was another minor hit that followed up "Rise", but was perhaps a little too disjointed for Top 40 tastes. More interesting was the new arrangement of Rodrigo's classical piece "Aranjuez", done up as a disco arrangement with flamenco flourishes. "Behind The Rain" is an excellent Alpert composition, one of his best. The rest of the album has the expected filler tracks, including a remake of the Crusaders' current hit "Street Life". This album put Alpert back in the spotlight of popularity...and back on the charts.
Produced by Herb Alpert, Randy Badazz and Andy Armer.
Musicians include: Herb Alpert (trumpet, vocals, piano, Arp 2600, percussion), Steve Gadd (drums), Manolo Badrena (drums), Randy Badazz (drums, percussion), Andy Armer (keyboards), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Steve Schaeffer (drums), Bob Findley (trumpet), Bill Reichenbach (trombone), Ernie Watts (tenor sax), Tim May (guitar), Mike Lang (keyboards), and special guest Peter Frampton (guitar solo on "The Factory")...and others.
Beyond is a fine successor to Rise, and would be the prototype for many of Alpert's following albums. Beside the driving title track (another Top 100 hit), the rest of the tracks are easygoing and pleasant, competently played by a virtual who's who of studio musicians. Labelmate Peter Frampton contributes a tasty solo to the mechanical "The Factory". "The Continental" is not a new version of the tune featured on the Tijuana Brass album Warm; it is instead a mild uptempo number penned by Armer and Badazz. Alpert also covers the Earth Wind & Fire anthem "That's The Way of The World".
Site Development and Maintenance by Canton Web Services.