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In The Pipeline: Musical master visits Surf City's neighbor

May 11, 2011|By Chris Epting
(Courtesy Andreas…)

It's not often that you get to speak with a musical legend as lasting and impactful as Herb Alpert. Given that he will be performing May 20 in our backyard at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, I thought you might enjoy this.

The numbers alone are staggering. One hundred million albums sold. Eight Grammys. Recipient of Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Thirteen million records sold in 1966. Four albums in the top 10 simultaneously. Top 10 singles in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Five No. 1 singles.

And who could ever forget Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass?

He is a performer, sculptor, artist, painter, producer, record company founder, philanthropist and horn player extraordinaire.

As creative director and "A" of A&M Records, his influence in the music business is the stuff of legend. He guided the careers of The Carpenters, The Police, Janet Jackson, Gato Barbieri, Al Green, Chuck Mangione, Cheech and Chong, Joe Cocker, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton and many others.

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Herb, along with his wife of 37 years and musical partner, Grammy-winning singer Lani Hall, just released "I Feel You." It's a marvelous, emotional, moody collection of standards, and Alpert will be featuring many of the selections, including some Tijuana Brass classics, at the show next week.

Alpert first described what's it like to make beautiful music, literally, with the one you love.

"We were friends for a long time," he said. "We then discovered that we were after the same things in life, Lani and I. Musically, we cherish honesty and beauty, and so when it comes time to do a record like this, we're totally on the same page. Working with her is an experience that is beautiful beyond words."

Now in his mid-70s, Alpert shows no signs of resting on his impressive musical laurels. Rather, he is looking ahead — far ahead — at his creative process.

"I'm still finding new groves," he laughed. "I was a classically trained musician, but then I got corrupted by Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and so many other great artists. Their vision, their spontaneity, it all just became the essence of how I work. Never getting too comfortable; always trying to grow and push my own boundaries."

And he commented on how much the business has changed since his first hit records, and also since he created one of the most artist-friendly record labels in history.

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