Herb Alpert  p
 
 
 

 
 
   
 
     
Musician, Artist, Painter, Entrepreneur
- Los Angeles
 
 born 31st March 1935, Los Angeles
     

We are using some paintings first presented to the public in an exhibition dating back to 1998, in Berlin in the presence of the artist Peng. Find more paintings at herbalpert.com

"Recent paintings by Herb Alpert" have been published by Wenger Gallery, Los Angels and are copyrighted.

All artwork is copyrighted by Herb Alpert. Covers by A&M and Rondor. Private Photos Artbust.com.

 

     

"You hear 3 notes and you know it's Herb Alpert" (Miles Davis)

He is an extraordinary musician. Herb Alpert's trumpet playing earned him five #1 hits, eight Grammy Awards, fifteen Gold albums and fourteen Platinum albums. Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass propelled Latino music into pop music and at one point outsold the band of its time, The Beatles, two to one. To date, Herb Alpert has sold over 72,000,000 records worldwide, according to his web site. Left at the Montreux jazz Festival in 1996, 30 years later.

It may surprise some people that this artist - he calls nowadays himself sometimes a "painter" rather than a musician - is responsible for a James Bond Theme ("Casino Royale") . Later he became the producer of artists such as Sergio Mendez & Brazil 66 and Janet Jackson. He has provided the "A" to the record company "A & M Records", which he had founded with the trombone player Jerry Moss (Alpert & Moss). Both originated the sound Herb Alpert is famous for - The Tijuana Brass Sound. "You hear 3 notes and you know it's Herb Alpert", Miles Davis is quoted to have said in an interview.



Herb Alpert received his first royalty check for co-writing, "Bim Bam" by Sam Butera & The Witnesses. The check was for $2.48 (1958).

Alpert worked then as a $33 a week songwriter for a small record label, scoring a number of hits. His biggest success at that time was Sam Cook's "Wonderful World" co-written with Lou Adler and Sam Cooke.

But then Herb Alpert carried on to outsell even the Beatles once. He sold about 72 million records alone as Herb Alpert & His Tijuana Brass. This band was successful in the charts with six top five hits both sides of the Atlantic in the 60s - "A Taste of Honey", "Lonely Bull", "Diamonds", "Spanish Flea", "This Guys in Love With You", "Rise" - with the latter two topping the US charts at number one. Some 30 years ago he has been at the forefront of Latin music.

Having played the trumpet from the age of eight Herb Alpert attempted to kick-start his career as a singer under the pseudonym Dore Alpert for RCA records. Though, a wonderful introduction to his vocal ability is his classic version of the Burt Bacharach standard, "This Guys in Love With You" - a memorable moment in pop history - the single reached "Number One" in of the Billboard chart and the UK charts later in summer 1968.

But his rise to fame might never have occurred had he not gone to a bullfight in Tijuana. To the sound of the mariachi band he conceived the idea that became the catalyst for stardom. Herb Alpert explains: "A bullfight I saw in Tijuana inspired me to reproduce the atmosphere and improvise on a tune I had in my head. I was trying to somehow connect the spirit (of the music) with that afternoon´s atmosphere, that touched me so much,'' he recalls in an interview with Artbust. He gapped his trumpet, experimented musically and the result was "The Lonely Bull", a now easy to recognise world classic. It launched Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass in 1962, set on its way with "A&M Records", founded in the same year with his trombone player Jerry Moss, in order to promote his unique style of music.

Both, Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass and the A&M Record label enjoyed a innovative time in the 60s. As a musician Alpert experimented with multi-tracked recordings, putting "strange" instruments like mandolins and tambourines and maracas as a "second voice" under his lead trumpet . The Brass was doing a very popular mix of jazz, rock and traditional Mexican music. His hits became all time classics, i.e. "A Taste of Honey" (1965), "Zorba The Greek" (1966), "Tijuana Taxi" (1966), "Spanishs Flea" (1966),"Work Song" (1966), "Whipped Cream" (1967), "Casino Royal" (1967), "Slick" (1968), or "Abanda" (1968). Music wise he swam on the big wave of discovery of bossa nova music.

On the other hand "A&M" (Alpert & Moss) Records became the world´s leading independent record companies up to the end of the last century. "A&M´s concept was to look for the music that was not on the air at the time. "We were trying to find things that didn't quite fit but had a chance',' Alpert explains. Through commitment to artists with personal vision, Alpert (along with partner Jerry Moss) guided A&M Records from a humble Hollywood garage operation into the largest independently owned record company in the world. Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss boughty the Charlie Chaplin Studios in Hollywood from CBS as A&M Records' new home. Great performers such as Carole King, Cat Stevens, Styx, Supertramp, The Carpenters, Sting and Janet Jackson are evidence of the consistent quality and diversity of the A&M Records family (other artists are included in Herb's list of produced albums: www.herbalpert.com). In 1970 Herb Alpert gave the Carpenters the lead sheet of an old Burt Bacharach-Hal David song, "Close To You" which he thought would be perfect for them. The song hit No. 1 and was the first of 16 consecutive Top 20 hits for the duo, produced by Herb Alpert. Over the decades the label published also some other great sounds such "Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66" with hits like "Mas Que Nada" (1968) and Astrud Gilberto, whom he paired with coll jazz saxophone player Stand Getz to record such classics as "Girl From Ipanema" (1964) and "Desafinado" (1962).

But the musician Herb Alpert caried on with his trumpet playing carreer of his own. AThe Tijuana Brass sound soon became "dated" with the arrivial of the new Philly and Salsoul sounds. Herb dibanded the tikuana Brass and grabbed his horn once again and re-invented himself. In this period of time, the early 70s, Alpert won the Bilboard and the Playboy Jazz & Pop Poll for Best Trumpet five years in a row. From the swying bossa Nova sounds he dveloped to hard jazz phrasing. Just to back in time to be very popular again.

CD cover Rise - Instrumental World hit by Herb AlpertThis time reaching exclusively the young audience with his funky horn in "Rise" (1979) becoming the ultimate instrumental hit of the decade.

Herb's sleek instrumental climbed to No. 1 and No. 2 respectively on the A/C and Pop charts. The multi-format smash also reached Top Five on the R&B chart and Top 20 on the Dance/Disco chart. The single was certified gold in September and carried the album of the same name to the Top 10 on the Pop, R&B and Jazz charts and wins a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

Still his sound retained a lot Latin feeling and atmosphere, although a strong move towards jazz and free improvisation became apparent. His albums of the time funky and had a more contemporary feeling.

The "Fandango" album has been released in 1982 and spend six months on the Album chart. The breezy single, "Route 101", reached the Top 40 and spend 10 weeks on the Pop chart.

On the 80s' experimental album "Keep Your Eye on Me") Janet Jackson gave her record debut. She performed the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis song "Diamonds" - later to become a hit with Prince. This took place in 1987. The album was very funky and unlikely what you might expect before from a Herb Alpert solo album. Other tracks still worth listening are the duet with Lani Hall "Pillow" and "Cat Man Do" or "Hot Shot" co-arranged by Albert Hammond.

This 1987 album was dedicated to his founding partner Jerry Moss on the 25th anniversary of A & M Records. Herb never forgets his friends.

 

 

Later in 1990, Alpert and Moss will sell the A&M label to Polygram (the later Universal). While terms of the sale were never publicly disclosed, Polygram was said to have paid about $500 million for A&M. For a couple of years Alpert and Moss continued as Vice-Chairman and Chairman respectively.

Alpert & Moss founded a new record label called Rondor Music, which continued releasing works by new artists. This new label so far is still the only one, which re-released the classic Tijuana Brass tracks alongside with the funky Herb Alpert of the 70s and 80s. For somebody who could put his hand on "Portrait In Music", please do so, it gathers some of his finest works spanning four decades on two CDs.

It was during the 1980s Herb Alpert started to reveal a new talent - painting. By then he had the time to concentrate on his new passion and settled down in Hollywood.

Alpert has emerged as a talented abstract expressionist painter with international exhibitions. His canvasses are characterised by flowing shapes, bold brushstrokes and exploding colours.

His success in painted is shown by the fact that in 1996 he even crossed the Atlantic to open an art gallery in the Berlin with his artist friend Peng.

Please browse his artwork by following the links provided.

His style crosses all boundaries just as his music bridges genres. Alpert's paintings do not depict anything in particular, nor are they "about" anything in particular; they are particularities in themselves. The artists's exploratory action provokes at least a metaphorical reading. His Abstract Expressionist mode has not evolved by pure accident. As in his his music, Alpert's paintings "have grown through the ongoing - and ever-increasing - modification of spontaneous impulse with considered formal rigour" (Peter Frank in "Herb Alpert - Recent Paintings" Wenger Gallery Los Angeles 1991).

For many reasons he never travels without his trumpet. Music & Art belongs to gather for him. On his Art opening nights he provide some spectacular free jazz solos, improvisations that go beyond imagination. "That´s the way how I can express myself the best way in the moment" he explains quoting his friend Stan Getz who assured him not to play a single note that he does not feel.

Now his musical style has changed once again. A sample of his recent work can only be found on the album "Second Wind", which he recorded with Jeff Lorber. It´s a fine collection of jazzy ballads and soulful tunes driven by a great groove.

While Herb Alpert, now his 60s, slows down, he will remain an icon for fans of Latin music, although he is of Russian-Jewish descent. In 1997 he was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at Billboard´s Latin Music Awards.


Lani Hall and Herb Alpert are married. She was recognisable lead vocalists of Sergio Mendez's Brasil 66. But Lani Hall srtated a solo carreer under Herb's supervision. There are several albums out that have not been appreciated well enough. Tracks, we consider still worth listening to, are i.e. "Rio", "Nobody Gets This Close To Me" and another James Bond Theme Song Leni Hall did after success of "Casino Royal" in the 1980s: the track is almost forgotton today but it has to be said that the album, which it came from, "Es Facil Amar", has won the Grammy Award in 1986 - surprisingly (?) as best Latin album. In 1984 Herb and his wife performed the Oscar-nominated song, "Maniac", (from the film "FLASHDANCE") re-arranged by Alpert, on the 56th annual Academy Awards telecast, beamed to a worldwide television audience of 240 million. The happy couple was photographed here in 1997 (very top) at a open air concert event at Hamburg while we, Artbust, intensively teamed up.

We followed him to another open air in Nuremberg and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Herb Alpert, obviously back to music. thank heaven! At this occasion he presented his Latin album "Passion Dance", a mixture of funky and Brazilian rhythms.

It must had happed a year earlier, that Herb Alpert caught fire for music again ? In 1996 he played the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the most prestigious of all festivals in the world. His was on stage with the Jeff Lorber Band. A man and his trumpet. And the old classics, just different this time. "Rise" sounded much jazzier than one would expect and tracks like "The Lonely Bull" or "Spanish Flea" lift to new horizon in free improvisation show casing the "new" Herb Alpert. This memorable moment was of cause captured on video (DVD available as French import, Naive DVDEV 426254, distributed by Eagle Rock).

"I don't want people to think I´m an impostor,'' Alpert told us, adding that he had never planned to be become known as a Latin music musician. Alpert was just playing what felt right to him. "The timing was right and we felt we had accomplished everything we wanted to, and it was so large that it lost its personal touch for us,'' Alpert said.

Reflecting on his humbling begiing, Alpert said, "It started out in my garage with just the two of us, and all of a sudden we had four or five hundred people and I didn't know three quarters of them. We were not having as much fun at the end as we had in the beginning".

Alpert and Moss started up another new label in 1995, Almo Sounds Inc. Already that label has broken its first internationally famous act - Garbage. Searching for new boundaries seems to be the driving force of Herb Alpert.

When he is not recording, playing or painting Alpert throws much of his energy into the charity work of The Herb Alpert Foundation For The Arts, which he said is his attempt to give something back to a world that gave him fame and fortune. Alpert's most serious contribution may yet be his greatest. The Herb Alpert Foundation assists educational, arts, and environmental programs dedicated to the training of young people, helping them discover their own potential and vibrant energy.

The Herb Alpert Foundation For The Arts makes contributions to education, the arts and the environment. Alpert, who first picked up the trumpet at age 8, speaks passionately about the need for music appreciation classes in schools. "Unfortunately, they don't have those programs in the public school system anymore ... it's unfortunate that doesn't happen today because music and arts in general need to be a part of what is education.''

"I recognized I had a responsibility. And then there were the cuts of artists’ grants and attacks on free expression. So this unrestricted prize is a sort of thank you, a giving-back, for the blessings that I’ve had", herb Alpert writes in a statement on the web site. "And what we’re receiving is challenging, and positive". Herb Alpert In the spirit of the partnership between The Herb Alpert Foundation and CalArts, the Alpert Award has developed collaborative relationships with five residency programs, all of whom honor and support talented artists, and their forays into the unknown.

Quiet years? No. Alpert has also chosen to involve himself in the world of Broadway theatre. His producing credits include the Tony Award/Pulitzer Prize winning production of Tony Kushner's "Angels in America." Herb co-produced the play which opened to rave reviews and received 19 nominations, including 9 Tony nominations (more than any play in Broadway History), and was honored with 16 Awards including the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 4 Tony Awards, including Best Play, and 5 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding New Play. Herb also co-produced the Broadway musical "Jelly's Last Jam", starring Gregory Hines. Within two weeks of opening, the musical received 11 Drama Desk nominations and 11 Tony Award nominations (2 more than any other show on Broadway that season). Ultimately the musical gwent on to win 3 Tony Awards, 6 Drama Desk Awards, He also co-produced Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass," and August Wilson's "Seven Guitars" .

Herb Alpert's persistent artistic vision reverberates as one note comprised of three simultaneous chords: curiosity, integrity and excellence. Creator and innovator, musician and producer, artist and entrepreneur, Herb Alpert is one of this generation's true Renaissance Men, a man with a profound passion empowering his every endeavour. To date, Herb Alpert has sold over 72,000,000 records worldwide and is resident artist in the prestidious Wenger Gallery, Los Angeles, amongst others.

The year 2009/2010 brings him back on the road again. Together with his wife lani Hall he is celebrating sold out concerts in the U.S.A..

A historic podcast is online here presenting Herb Alpert in an interview.


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