Herb Alpert – Come Fly With Me (2015)
LAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 40:58 minutes | 453 MB | Genre: Jazz, Easy Listening
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Herb Alpert Presents
Herb Alpert’s legendary career includes five decades of unprecedented breakthroughs as an artist, record executive and philanthropist. In the past two years alone, he won his ninth Grammy for 2013’s Steppin’ Out and received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama. As impressive as those accolades are, they may soon be overshadowed. Come Fly With Me, his latest studio album (to be released in September 2015 via his own label, HerbAlpert Presents) is some of the best work of Herb Alpert’s career, rivaling his classic Tijuana Brass output.
In the past year, Alpert composed seven original songs for the album, drawn from a diversity of musical influences, with inventive arrangements and lush orchestrations. His stirring new material is wonderfully complemented by fresh interpretations of some of the most indelible melodies of the 20th century. The exciting original compositions on Come Fly With Me were inspired by everything from a Tito Puente rhythm Alpert fell in love with (the propulsive “Night Ride”) to jamming with his world class band in between shows on tour (the fun, reggae-infused “Cheeky” was born of these sessions).
On “Walkin’ Tall”, another track with a punchy reggae beat, Alpert’s trumpet melody slinks and slides. Herb’s take on one of Frank Sinatra’s most famous recordings, “Come Fly With Me,” is set to a groovy bossa nova beat with the surprising addition of a steel drum. His sparse take on George Harrison’s “Something” includes the use of an electronic instrument known as an EVI, to play the signature guitar lick from the original recording. Alpert was always fond of the infectious melody in “Something,” and of George Harrison as a person, who recorded on Alpert’s A&M Records in the seventies.
Alpert co-founded A&M in 1962 and headed the label for thirty years. In that time he mentored generations of pop icons, from The Carpenters and Cat Stevens to Sting and Janet Jackson. A 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Alpert’s albums have sold over 72 million copies, and 29 of his records have reached the Billboard 200.
Since his 2009 return to regular recording after a ten-year hiatus, trumpeter Herb Alpert has stayed busy releasing albums, some with his wife, vocalist Lani Hall, and others, like 2015’s Come Fly with Me, on his own. 80 years old at the time of this release, Alpert has gone from instrumental pop icon of the ’60s and ’70s to journeyman performer with decades of experience to draw from. Working with a bevy of longtime collaborators including his nephew, programmer Randy “Badazz” Alpert, bassist/guitarist/producer Hussain Jiffry, keyboardist/producer Bill Cantos, keyboardist/guitarist Jeff Lorber, Alpert has crafted a breezy, low-key collection of originals and cover tunes, that nonetheless retains all of the melodic, jazz-inflected style of his classic recordings. Although Alpert takes on a handful of standards here, he approaches them with a creative sense of fun. To these ends, he reworks the classic Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen title track into a Day-Glo, Brazilian bossa nova production. Similarly, on Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies,” Alpert’s supple trumpet is framed by lush orchestral strings that give way to a laid-back reggae groove accented by vibrato-soaked, Beatles-esque guitar hits. And it’s not just Broadway standards that benefit from the Alpertization process — the Beatles influence pops up again, this time with his stripped-down, ethereal take on the band’s 1969 classic “Something.” One of the most interesting and effective transformations here is Alpert’s R&B style overhaul of “I’ve Got a Lot of Livin’ to Do,” from the musical Bye Bye Birdie. Kicking off with an introspective keyboard figure, the song sounds like something along the lines of Miles Davis covering a yearning ’90s soul ballad. As with most all of Alpert’s post-2009 material, Come Fly with Me is a much more low-key and intimate recording than the productions that marked the best of his ’60s Tijuana Brass period. That said, by keeping things simple, Alpert and his collaborators illuminate all of the tenderness and direct lyricism of his horn playing. -AllMusic Review by Matt Collar
1 Come Fly With Me 02:40
2 Blue Skies 03:39
3 Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do 03:00
4 Cheeky 03:24
5 Take The “A” Train 02:44
6 Love Affair 04:11
7 Windy City 04:31
8 Sweet And Lovely 02:41
9 Walkin’ Tall 02:56
10 Night Ride 03:14
11 Something 02:52
12 On The Sunny Side Of The Street 01:41
13 Danny Boy 03:25
Herb Alpert – Trumpet
Marcel Camargo – Cavaquinho, Guitar
Bill Cantos – Keyboards
Eduardo del Barrio – Keyboards, Piano, Programming, Strings
Robert Greenidge – Drums (Steel)
Hussain Jiffry – Bass, Guitar,
Jeff Lorber – Guitar, Keyboards
Scott Mayo – Flute, Saxophone, Vocals
Dorrel Salmon – Hammond B3
Michael Shapiro – Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Jamieson Trotter – Keyboards