You’d think that after five No. 1 hits, seven Grammy Awards and nearly three dozen albums to his credit, Herb Alpert might want to give his trumpet a nice long siesta.
Not even close.
A label executive and former leader of the Tijuana Brass, arguably the most successful instrumental pop ensemble of all time, Alpert says he practices his horn daily and is looking forward to a summer of gigs here and abroad.
In fact, the title of his allinstrumental new album, “Second Wind,” seems to reflect how Alpert is feeling seven years after selling A&M Records, the label he and partner Jerry Moss launched in 1962, to PolyGram for a cool $500 million.
“I see myself as a jazz spirit, committed to spontaneity,” Alpert said. “So, for these past several years, I’ve done what I’ve always done - played my trumpet every day, exploring ideas and listening for rhythms that could fuel those ideas even further.”
“Second Wind,” co-produced with fusion keyboardist Jeff Lorber, is Alpert’s debut for Geffen-distributed Almo Sounds, the label he and Moss started two years ago.
Alpert got his first break in the business in his early 20s when he and writing partner Lou Adler were hired as staff composers for rock ‘n’ roll producer Bumps Blackwell.
The pair penned four top-40 hits - “Wonderful World,” “Only Sixteen,” “Love You Most of All” and “Everybody Likes to Cha Cha Cha” - for Sam Cooke.
In 1962, Alpert split with Adler and joined Moss to form Carnival Records, which they renamed A&M (based on their surnames).
Later that year, Alpert hit upon a distinctive sound by double-tracking his trumpet parts on the instrumental “Twinkle Star,” which he renamed “The Lonely Bull” after overdubbing crowd noises from a Tijuana bullfight. The single, recorded for $200 and released on A&M under the Tijuana Brass (TJB) moniker, soared to No. 6 in the pop charts and established Alpert and A&M.
The TJB album, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights,” spent two months at No. 1, and Alpert remained in the top 40 through 1987 with such hit singles as “Taste of Honey,” “This Guy’s in Love With You,” “Rise” and “Diamonds” (with vocals by Janet Jackson and Lisa Keith).
During his current tour, Alpert will perform material primarily from “Second Wind,” his 33rd album but has rearranged a couple of TJB tunes to fit the contemporary jazz sound.
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