Though trumpet legend Herb Alpert and wife Lani Hall have been together for more than three decades, it's hard to believe that Anything Goes is their very first album together. A musician and entrepreneur, Alpert is best known for his work in the 1960s with his Tijuana Brass, five number one hits, eight Grammy Awards and fifteen gold albums. As co-founder of A&M Records, Alpert's impact on music has been even greater. After signing Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 to A&M and producing the group's first recordings in the 1960s, Alpert met and later married lead singer Lani Hall. After being together on stage many times, Alpert and Hall collect a set of eight live performances recorded across the United States for Anything Goes.
The selection of music could not be better, as the duo draws on a total of fourteen pieces including standards from the songbooks of Harold Arlen and Cole Porter to Gershwin and Irving Berlin classics, Latin and Brazilian music. The years have treated Hall kindly, as her vocal energy has not diminished in any discernible way. Some of her finest performances can be heard on songs like "That Old Black Magic" and "I've Got You Under My Skin," but perhaps her best and most powerful vocals are on the two Brazilian songs, Djavan's "Para-Raio" and Ivan Lins' classic, "Dinorah," both sung in Portuguese.
Hall shares vocals with pianist Bill Cantos on the opening " Fascinating Rhythm" and the stunning Cantos original , "Who Are You," where she reaches high notes with ease. Cantos joins Alpert on "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face," with drummer Michael Shapiro and bassist Hussain Jiffry rounding out the group's musical support. As for Alpert, he is simply amazing; whether on open trumpet or muted horn, he leads the music, providing a slew of gritty solos and holding court on several instrumentals including "The Trolley Song," Consuelo Velazquez's Latin classic, "Besame Mucho," and David Raskin's immortal "Laura."
Alpert may be viewed through the prism of pop music, largely because of his success in the genre and partly of his own doing when he stated that, during the 1960s and 1970s, " [I] was in the closet as a jazz musician because I wasn't quite sure where I fit in." He now firmly asserts that, "I' m basically a jazz musician...Jazz is always in my spirit." With Anything Goes, Alpert cements his jazz pedigree, and as for this long-awaited duo record, these two very special people and partners for life make beautiful music together...and lucky for us. Anything Goes immortalizes their performance once and for all; hopefully there is an encore in the waiting.
Fascinating Rhythm; Para Raio; The Trolley Song; That Old Black Magic; Dinorah/Morning; It's Only a Paper Moon; Let's Face the Music and Dance; Morning Coffee; I've Grown Accustomed to her Face; Who Are You?; Besame Mucho; Anything Goes; I've Got You Under My Skin; Laura.
Herb Alpert: trumpet, vocals; Lani Hall: vocals; Bill Cantos: piano, vocals; Hussain Jiffry: bass; Mike Shapiro: drums, percussion.