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Lani Hall Featuring Herb Alpert: Seasons of Love

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Lani Hall Featuring Herb Alpert: Seasons of Love
Vocalist and author Lani Hall has not released an album of her own in 20 years. That is our loss, for sure. Her last effort—not counting her work with husband Herb Alpert on his tours and on a number of his fine Grammy-winning sessions—was in 1998. With Seasons of Love Hall's stepping out in front shows nothing has changed. She still has an outstanding voice with plenty of walloping emotional impact. She "returns" with this effort, delivering ten fine songs—most well-known—which are all beautifully performed, impeccably presented, and superbly produced.

The title track is a dramatic take on the well-known feature from the Broadway hit Rent and it is a highlight. The late Bill Withers' upbeat "Lovely Day" is taken straight up by Hall, and builds over a terrific rhythm bed with Alpert's horn singing along with strings. It is a strong, involving track. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is an intimate play on the Roberta Flack classic. Hall caresses the rich lyric over an accompanying acoustic guitar and, later, with strings. Her approach is elegant and avoids any hint of being sappy or saccharine.

Hall's voice is full and right on point. It is a more seasoned sound than on the early Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 days. She is up front, direct, and honest with outstanding emotional depth, dynamic precision, and killer diction. Her approach to the lyrics is pristine and emotive. There is a ton of dramatic presentation across the session, as well. Herb Alpert handles the instrumental solos and sounds better than ever. His improvised accompaniment lines are well-chosen, lush, melismatic, and frame the vocals superbly without stepping on heels. The accompanying musicians are simply superb throughout.

The Bossa classic "Waters of March" puts Hall on a re-harmonised bed and is dramatically moving. "You Are" has Hall rhythmic over an energetic percussion platform with Alpert blowing on the chorus and a slick modulation. The dramatically lovely "No Te Vayas No (I Don't Want You to Go)" has Hall singing in impeccable Spanish. "Now You Know" is a very moving track with Hall accompanied by piano and strings and Alpert's trumpet filling—a simply glorious experience. "Sorri" is a lush Bossa take on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" where the suave syllabication of Hall's Portuguese lends a romantic and intimate flavoring to the optimistic focus of the tune. George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun" has Hall's vocal sunshine all over it, closes the date and is very "all right."

As with anything Alpert, this is an impeccably produced and engineered production which plays perfectly to vocal, trumpet, percussion, and all background textures.

Seasons of Love is almost an hour of excellent music. A very minor flaw is that a couple of the tracks, as great as they are, seem to end when listeners could certainly want more. But, then again who is to argue with genius?

Track Listing

Happy Woman, Seasons of Love, Lovely Day, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Waters of March, You Are, No Te Vayas No (I Don't Want You to Go), Now You Know, Sorri (Smile), Here Comes the Sun.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Herb Alpert: vocals, flugelhorn; Bill Cantos: keyboards, strings;

Album information

Title: Seasons of Love | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Herb Alpert Presents

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