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Herb Alpert / Lani Hall: Anything Goes

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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There is a very unique characteristic that permeates this CD from beat one throughout its entirety. And, given that this effort was recorded across a series of live performances, it makes trumpeter/vocalist Herb Alpert and vocalist Lani Hall's Anything Goes all the more special. That characteristic is intimate, and the result of that intimacy is joyous listening.

While this is their first combined CD, Hall and Alpert are certainly no strangers—they have been married since 1973. Their combined artistic efforts here do go extremely well; this CD is a thoroughbred winner. Sending up 14 perfectly chosen Latin-tinged selections from the Great American Songbook to Broadway—nothing unexpected from the Tijuana Brass' leader and former ""Sergio Mendes}}' Brasil '66 lead vocalist—Anything Goes features two mature artists with nothing to prove and every emotion to examine and deliver.

Hall's still recognizable vocal instrument has mellowed a bit since she gave us "Fool on the Hill" and other number one hits with Mendes. Here her voice is tonally and lyrically meticulous ("Who Are You?") and marvelous. She thrills across a rainbow of song types, grooves and languages (Portuguese on "Dinorah/Morning," for example). She is smooth, sultry, and wonderfully witchy with the beat, cooking jazz on "Morning Coffee," too

Alpert's trumpeting, whether playing solo ("The Trolley Song") or dancing around Hall's beautifully tosstructed lyric delivery ("Besame Mucho") displays minimalist virtuosity and taste. There is a "Jackie and Roy" touch when vocalizing with Hall, while "Accustomed to Her Face" is a moving me/you musical love letter signed, sealed and cliché-delivered with Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You" tag.

The rhythm section supports beautifully and tastefully across the date—never too "studio tight." Pianist Bill Contos is beautifully refined in his comping and harmonic support, while drummer/percussionist Mike Shapiro keeps fires glowing as bassist Hussain Jiffry splendidly pulses and pushes.

The production effort and engineering are outstanding. Anything Goes does indeed go—straight to being a marvelous, impeccably presented and produced performance. It is the other delights that Alpert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights (A&M, 1965) generated what seems like only yesterday. Forego the spoon and devour. Delightful.

Track Listing: 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.

Personnel: Herb Alpert: trumpet, vocals; Lani Hall: vocals; Bill Cantos: piano, vocals; Hussain Jiffry: bass; Mike Shapiro: drums, percussion.

Title: Anything Goes | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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