Album Remarks & Appraisals:
On September 9, legendary jazz musician Herb Alpert will re-release 24 classic albums from his illustrious catalog. The albums were remastered from the original analog tape mixes by Grammy-winning mastering engineer Bernie Grundman, who was the mastering engineer on many of the Tijuana Brass and Alpert albums. All releases, several of which have been out of print for a number of years (in Europe, some have not been available in over 30 years!), will be presented with their original artwork, making this collection must-have for the Herb Alpert fan!
The Western motif on the double-fold album jacket -- with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in costume -- signals this as another companion album to a TV special. But there is a deeper significance to this LP, for shortly after its release, a burned-out, personally troubled Alpert disbanded the Brass and retired from music for awhile. Indeed, stretches of this record reveal a tired group and a leader whose trumpet has lost much of its old zip. Even so, as on all TJB albums, there are several gems -- the stunning shifts in texture and tempo that enliven the worn-out "Moon River," the chugging bluegrass-tinged arrangement of Villa-Lobos' "The Little Train of the Caipira" that masquerades under the name of the title track, a haunting rendition of the Beatles' "I'll Be Back," the fast samba treatment of "Anna." Dave Grusin and Shorty Rogers contribute an occasional orchestration, and Alpert does a modest vocal turn on the lush "You Are My Life." But this time, the old sales magic was gone; the Tijuana Brass had suddenly become unhip in polarized 1969. ~ Richard S. Ginell