Recording information: Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA; Sandbox Studios, Santa Monica, CA.
It would be easy for the former Tijuana Brassman and founder of A&M to just rest on his career achievements or just make music to pass the time, but instead, the 60-something trumpeter rings in with one of the year's most remarkable jams. Alpert's recent output has ranged from the heart of smooth jazz (Second Wind, produced by Jeff Lorber) to fiery Latin (Passion Dance), but here the muse takes him to the mystical world of studio-bred trip-hop. Working with multi-instrumentalists and producers Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbush, Alpert surrounds his muted trumpet with hypnotic vibes and ambiences - some of which seem to drift into the sonic atmospheres, others bred from thick machine generated exotic percussion textures percolating over throbbing urban bass grooves. While ethereal experimentation with tons of cool studio equipment and sonic possibilities seems to be the general philosophy, he hasn't forgotten his Latin roots. The opening track, "Libertango," features a lighthearted horn melody drifting over a throbbing urban bass groove, percussion clicks, and the galloping flamenco flavors of Wimbish's acoustic guitar, all wrapped up in a dramatic synth orchestral sweep. "Dorita" centers Bernard Fowler's Spanish vocals amidst a wacky swirl of pitter patter and marching percussion, spacey sound effects, exotic soundscaping, moody retro keyboards, and Alpert's catchy, laid-back melody. Bridging past and present, Alpert approaches Burt Bachrach's "The Look of Love" as if it were a Miles Davis/Brian Eno collaboration, his smoky horn enhanced by his wife Lani Hall's breathy vocals. He also covers himself with a new hip-hop shuffle arrangement of his popular early-'80s gem, "Magic Man." Older and wiser than either Rick Braun or Chris Botti, Alpert gives the genre's two top horn guns a powerful run for their smooth jazz money.
- Jonathan Widran (All Music Guide)
Principally recorded at Sandbox Studios, Santa Monica, California.
"The Look Of Love" was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
Herb Alpert puts a lot of spice into his music. Bold trumpeting is united with throbbing beats and sultry atmospheres. His music isn't simply dance music but a kind of story telling. Combining diverse elements into his performances, these songs evoke images and create emotions that add power to the rhythms.
"The Look of Love" has a set of strings stealing through the languor of the melody, increasing the romance and passion already inherent in the song. An electronic echo of Alpert's trumpet seems to dance around "Colors," thereby deepening a cool jazz feel about this composition. An almost industrial element underlies the vocals and horn on "Dorita." The electronic beat is organized and pervasive in its trance-dance frenzy. The soulful organ of "Lady in My Life" works well with Alpert's thoughtful trumpet work and creates a drama absent from most dance tracks.