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Alpert still a hip listen

Passion Dance
Passion Dance
By Herb Alpert

Almo Records: 1997

This review first appeared in the May 24, 1997 edition of the American Reporter.

Herb Alpert will forever be associated with his Tijuana Brass band, the outfit he repeatedly hit the charts with in the '60s. And while he's made a lot more money as a record executive – founder and co-owner of A&M Records – it's as a popular trumpet player he remains best known.

After the Brass broke up, Alpert remained busy running his record company until exploring a more serious side of jazz in the '80s and early '90s than he had during his popular heyday. With his newest release, "Passion Dance," Alpert is returning to his Latin-influenced pop days – the CD is even dedicated "to all the Tijuana Brass fans."

This album is nowhere near as commercial as the Tijuana Brass material, though. Heavily influenced by Latin rhythms, it nevertheless has a more experimental attitude to it; a cross between Alpert's jazz leanings and his commercial successes.

His trumpet playing remains bright and accessible; his solos are not as polished as during his most popular years, but they're far more interesting. The man can flat out improvise better now than he could 35 years ago.

If no longer cocktail chic, Herb Alpert remains a nice, light listen in a Tony Bennett vein.