All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Catching Up With

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Herb Alpert: Come Fly with Me

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count


With his latest recording, Come Fly with Me, legendary award-winning trumpeter, producer, artist and overall Renaissance Man, Herb Alpert takes the listener on a melody-rich, groove-embellished artistic journey, offering marvelous musical perspectives and insights with both familiar and exciting new sonic landscapes.

All About Jazz: Herb, on behalf of all About Jazz, it's great speaking with you again. Thanks for taking time to speak with us about Come Fly with Me.

Herb Alpert: My pleasure, Nick.

AAJ: First off, as a fellow trumpet player, I have to tell you that you sound great on it -like you're having a lot of fun with this particular album.

HA: Thanks. Well, I feel good and I'm having a good time -that's the important ingredient. I have fun on every album. You know, every time I finish a project—an album, or whatever you call it these days, I say "You know, it's the best thing I've ever done."

AAJ: It sounds it.

HA: Yeah, I used to bore my partner, Jerry Moss at A&M Records with that comment. I try to do my best; to do things that I haven't done on previous albums. So, yes, this is "the best one I've ever done."

AAJ: There are really interesting and unique grooves on this album with some reggae things and other unique types of rhythmic textures.

HA: Yeah. We wanted to do that and explore things. I think we succeeded.

AAJ: Was your wife, Lani Hall on this album.

HA: No, she wasn't this time. She was on the last one, In the Mood.

AAJ: Who produced the album?

HA: You're talking to him.

AAJ: I've got to ask you about "Take the 'A' Train" and the incredibly unique way you present it. I've never heard it that way before. It floored me.

HA: Yeah, "Take the 'A' Train" is really cool. I've always remembered the story about Billy Strayhorn -that he hated Nat "King" Cole's version of "Lush Life." Years ago in the 60s, I was walking down the sidewalk on Sunset Boulevard and I ran into Charlie Warren, who had written "I Only Have Eyes for You." Now at that time, The Flamingos had the #1 record in the country with it. I said to him: "You've got to be happy, Charlie. You have the #1 record in the country." And, he said: "I hate that record!"

AAJ: How did the unique groove on "Take the 'A' Train" come about? It's in 3, isn't it? Was it your idea?

HA: Yes. I've had that idea in mind for awhile. I was working on it. And, I played it on the horn for Mike Shapiro and Hussein Jiffry, who played drums and bass on it. Every so often, I do something and I say to myself: "Man, that's really good." To my knowledge, it's never been played or recorded that way.

AAJ: In my humble opinion, I think that the arrangement and presentation on that cut is so unique, it's Grammy®-worthy. That's no "smoke."

HA: Thanks. I like to take familiar songs and present them in a different way that they haven't been played before. I feel really good about that one.

AAJ: You composed a handful of originals on Come Fly with Me.

HA: Yeah, "Love Affair," "Windy City," "Cheeky," "Walkin' Tall" and "Night Ride" are mine.

AAJ: And, you have GAS tunes on there such as "Blue Skies," "Come Fly with Me" and you close with "Danny Boy."

HA: Well, "Danny Boy," you know, is public domain. And "Come Fly with Me"—Sinatra is the one who really highlighted that song. It's a great Jimmy Van Heusen song. What I wanted to do with it was sort of take it to the Caribbean. So, after the bridge, I have the pans—the steel drums playing.

AAJ: That's a great touch.

HA: I don't know if I told you this the last time, but, back in 1962 when I had "Lonely Bull"—it was the Top 10 record that started A&M Records—I got a letter from a lady from Germany who wrote: "Dear Mr. Alpert: Thank you for sending me on this vicarious trip to Tijuana!" So, at the time, I chuckled, as you just did, and I thought to myself: "Man, you know, that music was so visual to her that it transported her." I like to make visual music, as opposed to music that you'd hear in the elevator. I mean that that music is not good or not bad. It's just there, you know.

AAJ: It's funny you mention that because I listened to "Night Ride" many times and that's exactly the same kind of impression I got. It's highly visual and stimulating music. It reminded me of film music.

HA: My wife, Lani, wants me to do that. She says my music has that visual quality. I've had my songs in movies, but, I can't or want to write to time or anything.

AAJ: Well, with the art that you also do, the visual sense is probably in your DNA. By the way, who did the unique cover art, you?

HA: No, it was done by Brian Porizek. He had a great concept there with the birds flying and, when she saw it, Lani had the idea to add the trumpet. So, the birds are flying from the bell of the trumpet. It's a nice touch.

AAJ: You do one of The Beatles tunes, "Something" on this recording.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Gordon Au: Untraditionally Mad About Trad Catching Up With
Gordon Au: Untraditionally Mad About Trad
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Michael Feinstein: Errands and Rhythm Galore Catching Up With
Michael Feinstein: Errands and Rhythm Galore
by Rob Wood
Published: September 21, 2018
Read Zach Brock: Jazz Violin's New Wave Catching Up With
Zach Brock: Jazz Violin's New Wave
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: September 12, 2018
Read Linda May Han Oh: Talent and Dedication Catching Up With
Linda May Han Oh: Talent and Dedication
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: September 11, 2018
Read Harold Lopez-Nussa: from Havana to Indianapolis Catching Up With
Harold Lopez-Nussa: from Havana to Indianapolis
by Fernando Rodriguez
Published: September 2, 2018
Read Stu Mindeman and trio explore a Chick Corea classic at the Chicago Jazz Festival Catching Up With
Stu Mindeman and trio explore a Chick Corea classic at the...
by Corey Hall
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Zach Brock: Jazz Violin's New Wave" Catching Up With Zach Brock: Jazz Violin's New Wave
by Angelo Leonardi
Published: September 12, 2018
Read "Stu Mindeman and trio explore a Chick Corea classic at the Chicago Jazz Festival" Catching Up With Stu Mindeman and trio explore a Chick Corea classic at the...
by Corey Hall
Published: August 21, 2018
Read "Sean Noonan: Not Simply Beating a Dead Horse Drum" Catching Up With Sean Noonan: Not Simply Beating a Dead Horse Drum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: January 12, 2018
Read "Dave Douglas: From Revolution to Revelation" Catching Up With Dave Douglas: From Revolution to Revelation
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Helen Sung: Celebrating Monk" Catching Up With Helen Sung: Celebrating Monk
by Jim Trageser
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit" Catching Up With Alex Han: Embracing The Spirit
by Liz Goodwin
Published: October 4, 2017