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!
Meant as the companion album to a Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass television special of the same name and packaged in a fancy double-fold LP jacket, The Beat of the Brass came out amid signs that Alpert's hot streak was finally beginning to run out. Not quite. Viewer requests for a new Burt Bacharach song, "This Guy's in Love with You" -- featuring an Alpert vocal -- were so strong that A&M released it as a single, which shot up to number one and took The Beat of the Brass with it to the top. Herb's vocal is touching in its strained naïveté; he sounds sincere, and that overrides the lush, overbearing Bacharach orchestral arrangement. The rest of the album generated an often nostalgic quality then and now; the tunes by John Pisano and Sol Lake are exquisite, and Alpert's arrangements of songs like "Thanks for the Memory" seem autumnal in quality, as if an era were about to close. The band still has the ability to groove; the vamp on Julius Wechter's bossa nova "Panama," with Wechter's jazzy vibes and Pisano's strong rhythm guitar, could have been stretched to half an hour. Yet Alpert's trumpet sounds a bit withered at times, and the band vocals and cloying children's chorus on "Talk to the Animals" could be done without. ~ Richard S. Ginell