Title - 'Over The Rainbow'
Artist - Herb Alpert
For those not in the know, Herb Alpert is an American jazz musician most associated with the group variously known as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, or TJB.
Interestingly enough, Alpert is also a recording industry executive, the "A" of A&M Records, a recording label he and business partner Jerry Moss founded and eventually sold to PolyGram.
Alpert also has created abstract expressionist paintings and sculpture over two decades, which are publicly displayed on occasion. Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, are substantial philanthropists through the operation of the Herb Alpert Foundation.
Alpert's musical accomplishments include five No. 1 albums and 28 albums total on the Billboard Album chart, nine Grammy Awards, fourteen platinum albums, and fifteen gold albums. Alpert has sold 72 million records worldwide.
Alpert is the only recording artist to hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist ('This Guy's in Love with You', 1968) and an instrumentalist ('Rise', 1979).
On his latest album, Over The Rainbow (out September 20th, 2019 via Herb Alpert Presents, Inc.), Herb Alpert began the same way he has done for all of his albums over the years: searching for great melodies.
That search has resulted in the prolific trumpeter’s latest offering, a collection of 11 classics and one brand new, original track.
1. 'Skinny Dip'
2. 'Ain't No Sunshine'
3. 'All Love'
5. 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow'
7. 'With You I'm Born Again'
8. 'You are So Beautiful'
9. 'Nature Boy'
10. 'Always On My Mind'
11. 'South Of The Border'
12. 'What A Wonderful World'
Indeed, it's that one brand new, original song, and first single 'Skinny Dip that opens this quite wondrous album in some fine flare style. Complete with a rather quirky and playful vibe, from there Alpert moves into more known territory with some songs taken from the great American songbook.
Next up is 'Ain't No Sunshine,' the iconic recording by Bill Withers and which here Alpert puts his own spin on it, and even brings in Hussain Jiffry singing along with his wife, Lani Hall. 'All Love,' which was written by Babik Reinhart, is a stunningly beautiful tribute to his incredibly talented Gypsy jazz guitarist father, Django Reinhardt, and that's backed by the second single, Earth, Wind & Fire's beloved 'Fantasy.'
Then comes a real trio of beauties for my money with the title track leading the way. Owned by the iconic Judy Garland, Alpert's version begins with Michael Shapiro singing part of the opening refrain and then bleeds seamlessly into the most beautiful orchestration by Eduardo del Barrio.
Then comes a mesmerizingly Tijuana shuffle version of Barry Manilow's always-fun-to-hear 'Copacabana,' which is followed by a simply lush and glorious 'With You I'm Born Again' (Billy Preston and Syreeta Wright), with Alpert's cover of 'You Are So Beautiful' (Joe Cocker) yet another magnificent rendition.
The song 'Nature Boy' (arranged by Jochem Van der Saagen) ables Alpert to relax his chops a wee it, traveling instead down a more relaxed, free flowing set of arrangement, and is made all the more personal as having known and spent some interesting times with the composer, Eden Abez, Alpert always knew him as someone who lived his life as the real nature boy!
This beautiful album then rounds out with 'Always on my Mind,' a track that sees Alpert taking a chance on turning a familiar country song into an instrumental (and yet it works, of course), the multi-recorded 'South Of The Border,' and then brings everything to a close on a tribute to the great Louis Armstrong, 'Wonderful World.'
"My intention was not to cover his record, but to show how it had an international impact and to highlight the power of music as a tool to help us understand each other and bring more light into the world," Alpert explains, "so that peace will have a much better chance to survive."
Recorded at both Alpert's studio and at famed Grammy winning and multi-nominated engineer, arranger and mixer Jochem van der Saag's studio, Over The Rainbow was recorded in eight months and boasts a roster of pop, classic and international hits that are familiar to all ages.
"This project started like all of the other albums that I have recorded throughout the years, including the Tijuana Brass projects," Alpert explains. "I am always looking for good melodies to play and if it is a familiar song that I am working on, I'll try to do it in a way that it's never been heard before."
"When choosing songs, I look for something that makes you feel good, I have learned to become an audience to my own music and listen to what creates feelings that stop and call you."
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