- Audio CD (November 19, 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Shout Factory
- ASIN: B00FCAKAOO
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,747 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Steppin' Out (Feat. Lani Hall)
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Grammy®-winning jazz great Herb Alpert is Steppin' Out with a new album that combines pop instrumentals and timeless jazz along with Latin-influenced rhythms reminiscent of the Tijuana Brass. Steppin' Out explores standards from the American Songbook as well as Alpert's own catalog, and features his wife, the Grammy®-winning vocalist Lani Hall, on several tracks. Highlights include the single "Puttin' on the Ritz," Art Pepper's "Our Song," Astor Piazolla's "Oblivion," and a trio of Tijuana Brass chestnuts, "Good Morning Mr. Sunshine," "And the Angels Sing," and the 50th Anniversary recording of "The Lonely Bull."
Alpert is one of the founders of A&M Records the most successful independent record label of all time, where he recorded as a solo artist and leader of the Tijuana Brass, selling over 75 million records. Overall, Alpert has scored five #1 Billboard Pop Singles, and won eight GRAMMY's, and received, with his partner, Jerry Moss the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award. In President Obama presented to him a National Medal of Arts Award. In 2013 President Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.
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Top Customer Reviews
1. Puttin' On The Ritz - Love the rhythm track on this. The song itself is a perfect fit for Herb's horn. There's some cool things that Michael Shapiro does on drums if you listen closely, such as these little triplet figures on a couple of breaks. Herb plays some nice solos as well.
2. Jacky's Place - Had I not read that Jeff Lorber was on this album I would've guessed him anyway. He has a distinctive way of playing a Fender Rhodes piano. Love the little scat vocals by Lani and Herb on the melody. Beautiful interplay between Herb and Lorber, conjuring up images of Second Wind. Strong track.
3. Our Song - My favorite ballad of the album. I always loved Art Pepper's original to begin with and this seems like a natural fit for Herb. The strings are just right on this recording as well. Simply gorgeous.
4. Green Lemonade - The first thing that struck me about this song was the opening vamp, which is similar to Pat Metheny's "Are You Going With Me?" Some very strong playing by Herb here. A clear favorite of mine.
5. I Only Have Eyes For You - Starts out rubato, then subtly breaks into a bit of a Brazilian mode, a la "Brasil Nativo" from a few years back. Lani chimes in with some sparse vocals.
6. Good Morning Mr. Sunshine - I've never been a huge fan of the "Brass Are Comin'" album, but this song was one of my favorites. So I was a bit skeptical seeing this song on this album, but I must say I like this version better. The interplay between Herb and Bill Cantos is wonderful. I really dig the way the rhythm section flows on this track. Herb really soars on this song as well. I think this would make a great song for some jazz stations. One of my favorites on this album.
7. Oblivion - Herb's second Astor Piazzolla song ("Libertango" from "Colors" was the first) is a dramatic reading. Bill Cantos did the orchestration for this. This would've fit on the "Spanish Moon" album had Herb decided on putting it on there.
8. What'll I Do? - The Irving Berlin standard gets an updated version with Lani making a brief appearance. Nice solo by Herb as well. Sounds as if Hussain Jiffry is playing an upright bass. Nice romantic ballad.
9. Côte D'Azur - Another one of my favorite tracks. This has a bit of a TJB horn line for the melody with Herb playing some beautiful jazz lines throughout the tune. He even pulls out the Harmon mute for a bit.
10. La Vie En Rose - I don't know much about Edith Piaf but I knew this song as soon as I heard it. This sounds as if it could've been played at some bawdy club in New Orleans. It probably would fit in with Madeline Khan singing in "Blazing Saddles".
11. It's All In The Game - You know, when I first heard this song I thought it had a bit of a Bacharach feel to it. Lani gets featured on this track. Herb sings with Lani and provides a few licks on the horn as well.
12. Europa - When I saw this song was on the album my first expectation was that it would be something similar to what Gato Barbieri did (which Herb produced back in 1976). But it's nothing like that at all. This almost has a bit of a Parisian feel to it. The strings are a bit "outside", conjuring up images of the "Midnight Sun" album.
13. And The Angels Sing - This was one of my favorite songs on the "Going Places" album, so again I was a bit apprehensive about hearing this. Brother, did I change my mind on that! It starts with a bit of a Freddie Green guitar-ish vamp to start (I'm not sure this is a guitar - it could be Hussain Jiffry on bass). This is the one song that really swings!!! Herb does some his finest playing on this track. I play this one quite a bit. Probably my favorite track on the album.
14. Skylark - An old standard that's given a lush treatment. Again, Bill Cantos does the orchestration with some help from his beloved wife Mari Falcone. Herb does a pretty straight reading on this classic tune.
15. Migration - A fun, uptempo jam. Herb does some off-mic scatting, reminding me of what he did on "Promises, Promises" back in '74. Lani provides some brief vocals. Some solid horn work by Herb as well. Another fave of mine.
16. The Lonely Bull - This is from the video that we saw on Herb's website from a few months back. Again, this reminds me of what he was doing on the "Spanish Moon" album. Eddie del Barrio does the string thing here. This is more of a somber version of the song and gets a bit outside, which I really love. Is this his swan song? Well, I don't know about that. I certainly hope not. Sounds as if he still has plenty to say, judging by what he put out.
As for the favorite tracks, I voted for "Puttin' On The Ritz", "Jacky's Place", "Our Song", "Green Lemonade", "Good Morning Mr. Sunshine", "Côte D'Azur", "And The Angels Sing" and "Migration".
All in all, a pretty hip album. Not bad for a 78 year old youngster slingin' a trumpet!
Irving Berlin's "Puttin' On The Ritz" begins the album with a sprightly,upempo modern swing arrangement that-as with all the vocal numbers here features Herb and his wife/musical collaborator Lani Hall sharing the lead singing in close harmony. Berlin's ballad "What'll I Do" is revisited as well in a more straight rendition with Hall's dynamic singing taking presidents. The equally magnificent musician/producer Jeff Lorber helps out on both guitar and keyboard on the gliding,grooving funk of "Jackey's Place" which,along with the opener of this album,are two of my favorites on this album. "Green Lemonade" and "Cete D'Azur" both follow right along with that swinging bluesy funk flavor of both Alpert and Lorber meshing together to near perfection. "Migration" is the last of the Lorber collaborations-another incredibly strong number featuring another wonderful lead vocal from Lani Hall and some stomping piano form Lorber. Art Pepper's "Our Song",Santana's "Europa"-originally from one of my favorite Santana albums Amigos as well as standards such as "I Only Have Eyes For You","Good Morning Mr.Sunshine" and "Oblivion" are all given beautifully orchestrated Latin jazz arrangements while "La Vie En Rose" is done up in a swinging bluesy jazz type style. Same goes for "It's All In The Same" and Johnny Mercer's "And The Angels Sing'. "Skylark" takes the Hoagy Carmichael/Mercer standard and gives it a loving tribute whereas "The Lonely Bull" revisits Alpert's classic Spanish pop/jazz type orchestration that almost ideally closes this album out.
Overall this represents a magnificent comeback album for Herb Alpert. And the interesting part is he's never really been away. He has continued to perform and record duet albums with his wife Lani Hall. On the other hand this is his first album being released showcasing his own name in just about a decade. The one thing that makes it stand out is Herb Alpert's compassionate understanding of the different musical genres portrayed on this album. The standards from across the jazz,tin pan alley pop and even the classic rock era all seem to emphasize one important thing: the vital importance of song craft,instrumental creativity and the thrill of the interpretive aural tradition passed down through all the many tributaries of jazz music. The collaboration of Jeff Lorber with Herb Alpert on this album was,as they say a match made in Heaven. Lorber and Alpert definitely have an intrinsic understanding of each other musically-in particular how the invention of melody plays such an important part of both their instrumental approaches. Alpert's playing,by the way hasn't lost one step on this album. As a matter of fact he is continuing to stretch out more and more as an instrumentalist here-almost effortlessly reinterpreting many of the classic melodies featured on this album. He also has the effect of being album to endow them with his instrumental trademark "Bullish" type trumpet sound that is so identifiable with his sound. In the end this is a fantastic and well rounded modern day jazz/funk/pop/Latin album that is highly recommended.
This album swings from the very first note till the last and Lani sounds wonderful too.
It's great to hear the hints of his original work, ala the T.J. Brass her and there!
A really enjoyable and hip recording of a marvelous artist.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an awesome recording.