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2009 live release from iconic trumpeter and bandleader Herb Alpert and his wife, renowned singer Lani Hall. Anything Goes is a 14 song collection of beautifully reinterpreted standards with just a hint of Brazilian cool. This is Herb's first album in 10 years and is the first time the celebrated duo have recorded a complete album together.
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They've taken some of our greatest jazz songs and reimagined them in clever ways. For example, I've always hated "The Trolley Song" and could not be more surprised that it's one of my favorite tracks on this CD.
A fantastic album from a couple of legends.
Lani sounds like she did in the Brazil '66 days. Herb plays a mean horn and sounds good on vocals he contributes to. All in all, a fine album from two seasoned pros.
Between his multi-million selling string of successes with the Tijuana Brass (all of which have been recently reissued in remastered versions) and his disco period (which produced hits such as "Rise" and "Diamonds" with its Janet Jackson vocals), it is easy to forget that Herb Alpert comes from a jazz background, especially if you were amongst the many who didn't buy his albums in the 80s and 90s. Yet he was able to blow toe-to-toe with Hugh Masekela in 1978 and has produced such lovely music as his "Under The Spanish Moon" and "My Abstract Heart" albums to mention two.
Well after sitting out most of the '00 decade, Herb Alpert is back with a straight-forward jazz album and a live one at that. He is by turns sprightly ("It's Only A Paper Moon,") subtle ("That Old Black Magic" or "Let's Face The Music And Dance"), playful ("The Trolley Song"), sultry ("Besame Mucho") and flat-out swinging ("Laura"). He even puts down his horn and sings, as he did on his biggest hit "This Guy's In Love With You," on the tender "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face."
Luckily for us he leaves the bulk of the singing to his wife, Lani Hall. If the name doesn't ring a bell, she was one of the femme singers front and center in Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 when they scored most of their big hits. Personally one of the biggest musical disappointments in my life was when she put her singing career on the back burner in favor of wife and motherhood. And I apparently am not alone inasmuch as when a rare Lani Hall CD shows up on eBay it brings big bucks.
Consequently it is a true pleasure to have her back and live, using that warm, enveloping, lovely voice that her cult of fans have been missing. And her husband is not afraid to let her shine, which she does over and over whether it is on standards ("Fascinating Rhythm," "Let's Face The Music And Dance," "Anything Goes," and "I've Got You Under My Skin") or sambas ("Para-Raio" and "Dinorah/Morning"). While all of the previously mentioned titles are wonderful, the true standouts for Mrs. Alpert are the uptempo "Morning Coffee" and the lovely ballad "Who Are You?" (with some background help from Bill Cantos).
This CD is a wonderful surprise which made me realize just how much I've been missing new music from this pair of brilliant artists and performers. You may not realize it yet but you do need this CD. I hope it won't be another decade before they re-emerge with more wonderful new music like this gift they have just given us.