Herb Alpert and Lani Hall return come the cafe Carlyle in Manhattan, Oct. 9-13. The legend trumpeter and producer, Rock and Roll room of Famer, and creator of the Tijuana Brass joins his wife of Brazil 66 fame, performing song from tin Pan Alley to Jobim’s Brazil. Backed by a superb trio that musician friends, Alpert and Hall re-superstructure stories along the method and follow their muses in a exciting casual evening of music and also memories. Afropop’s Banning Eyre reached out to Alpert to catch up, and especially, come hear his memories of his longtime friend and collaborator Hugh Masekela, who passed away in January 2018. Here’s their conversation.

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Banning Eyre: Let’s start with pleasant. What have you been up to lately?

Herb Alpert: Well, there’s a new album. I’m recording every the time, but there’s a new album. My nephew, who happens to be my manager, claimed he want to perform this Tijuana Brass revisited, to watch if I might take several of the old evergreens and present castle in a method they hadn’t been presented officially. For this reason that’s what ns did. And that’s what’s coming the end in a couple of weeks. It’s called Herb Alpert Reimagines the Tijuana Brass.


Well it’s not terrific until girlfriend hear it. It could not it is in excellent.

You have a suggest there, but it sounds prefer a promise idea. That’s wherein it every started. I’ve took pleasure in the medley of TJB that you execute in the shows at the café Carlyle, however it pipeline one hungry because that more, so it will be nice come hear complete versions.

Good, good.


I likewise wanted come ask about that sweet video you made last year, “I’m Yours.”

I want to make something positive. There’s so much an unfavorable stuff walk on in this country and also in the world at the moment. I want to have something elevating. Love is the answer.

It’s very clever, and a love track to the trumpet the course. But what yes, really strikes me about that track that sticks with me. I have actually not actually watched that video in a year or so, however that melody is tho in mine head. It’s such a strong melody, and I remind you saying from the stage something along the lines that melody is gift deemphasized in our famous music now. You want to broaden on that little?

It’s cyclical. You understand what’s happening? There’s a many music the is sort of anti-melody in ~ the moment. Then there space others the are putting out an excellent songs, however it’s harder come hear them, since radio is not as obtainable as it supplied to be. For this reason if you desire to listen that, friend gotta walk on the Spotifys the the world, examine out what part artists room doing. Yet for the many part, melody is a bit scarce. That’s why a many the evergreen artists have actually kicked earlier into the ’30s and ’40s, earlier to those an excellent melody writers.

Is there anything you’re hearing these days follow me these lines the you’re details excited about?

No, no really. Ns don’t invest a most time hearne to various other artists, come tell friend the truth. I shot to it is in original. I try to carry out my own thing. I have actually a classic background, and also I hear to timeless music. Ns listen to jazz, due to the fact that I think jazz is what the human being is looking for. We’re all for freedom, and also jazz has a way of to express that.

When friend come to brand-new York, will certainly you carry the exact same trio the we’ve seen the last pair of years?

Yes. We’ve to be playing together for the last 12 years. They’re no only good musicians, yet they’re friend of ours. We have a an excellent time playing through them and being through them.

It’s apparent on stage. You have the right to feel the closeness. So 12 years? exactly how did you uncover them? What’s the beginning story that this ensemble?

Well, us were playing at a 40th anniversary because that Sergio Mendes at the Hollywood Bowl. Sergio asked us to do with him on a pair of songs, which us did, and the drummer, Michael Shapiro, mentioned after the concert the it would be amazing to obtain a group together and also do part independent stuff with a group. Once he an initial mentioned it, i wasn’t really excited about it, since I assumed if you placed my surname on it, people are just going to want to hear that Tijuana Brass, and I’ve excellent that. Ns didn’t desire to invest time making that kind of music again. So i was reluctant to gain a group together, yet Mike placed together a good bass player and keyboard player, that we met an ext than 12 years ago.

We just had actually one rehearsal, and also we had actually a great time play together, so us did a concert. The very first concert, ns didn’t play any Tijuana Brass music, and also nobody was stating it. Everybody appeared to have a good time, since it was an extremely authentic what us do. That works. So small by little, I started inserting a Tijuana Brass medley and Lani go a Brazil 66 medley, but surrounding the it’s nice spontaneous, friend know, music that we choose to play. It’s different every night. There’s a the majority of improvisational product in there, and also it becomes a difficulty and it’s fun.

The first time I witnessed you v this trio, you introduced Michael, the drummer together someone who never ever plays the exact same thing once.

Well, that’s true. That sounds favor a joke. But that’s the reality of it all. He’s very spontaneous. Everyone is. Hussain Jiffry, our base player, is the very same way. And also Bill Cantos, you know, the son is a prodigy on piano. He is ridiculous with his interpretations.


I want to questioning you around Hugh Masekela, who we shed this year. I have actually been analysis his autobiography, Still Grazing, and also it’s interesting, his storage of you ago in 1977 and also ‘78. That talks around that session with Caiphus Semenya and Stuart Levine, the “Skokiaan” session. That remembers it as “a joyful experience” recording with you. Carry out you mental those sessions?

Oh yeah. Vividly. Ns loved Hugh. He was a great, good musician. He had his very own voice, his very own feeling, his very own sound, and he was really musical, whether he was play on his flugelhorn or that tiny trumpet that he had. He was music. Us traveled roughly the country, did concert together. I had actually a an excellent time playing through him. Because he placed together a wonderful team of great African musicians, and also some musicians from the Caribbean.

I don’t know, I just kind of combined right in through them. Castle were an extremely compatible. I took pleasure in working with him. He to be spontaneous, that the moment, and super authentic. That was additionally a wonderful human being being.

It was an amazing time earlier then. Since African music had very small profile internationally, and yet below was Hugh, bouncing about between Liberia and Lagos, L.A. And also San Francisco. He to be making all these interesting connections happen. Through his very own telling in the book, those years were a time once he was a wild man. He defines himself together “partying prefer a pirate.” and he writes, “That Herb Alpert had the ability to stomach mine insane behavior without coming under on me boggles mine mind.”

I haven’t checked out that book. As soon as did that come out?

Back in 1994. The is composing from the perspective of having recently sobered up. By the moment I interviewed him, he to be reflective, under to earth and, together that line suggests, tending come look under on his previously behavior. But do friend remember him in ~ all that way?

No. He was a gentleman, a delight to it is in around. He to be funny. He had actually a an excellent sense that humor. He experienced the feeling in everything. We just appreciated each other, so the was a wonderful suffer for me. And also I remember he carried this trombone player Gwangwa.

Yes, Jonas Gwangwa.

Yeah, that played favor a wild elephant.

There’s nothing like an african brass section. A very distinctive attack. Well, in the book, Hugh expresses an excellent affection because that you and the support you offer him.

Well, i think he had actually a huge part in putting out music that was uniquely southern African. Indigenous his background.

And he had a wonderful late career, play Carnegie Hall and also all kinds of good places. He does cite that you men recorded a second album, which ns don’t find. Did the come out?

Yes. Definitely. The is out there. I deserve to send you a copy that it. It’s a live album that we did in ~ the Roxy in L.A. It has some really good cuts ~ above it.

Did you ever before stay in touch with him later on in life?

I did FaceTime with him at a date of birth party lock were having actually for that in south Africa. So ns didn’t check out him physically. However I observed him top top the Internet.


Let me move gears and ask girlfriend a question around the music company these days. You’ve obviously had actually a front heat seat because that the era that the document company. So many musicians I recognize now room taking matters into their very own hands and also bypassing record providers in do their own careers. So ns guess the inquiry is, carry out record companies, unless you’re a superstar, issue anymore?

that is a great question. Yeah, if castle love you, and they’re walking to support you and put their wealth behind you, climate they matter. Yet if they don’t, and also if they sign you and also you have one not successful record, you will certainly be dropped favor a hotcake. I guess friend read around what Spotify is thinking around doing, opening up the percent that lock give particular artists that they can attract to your site. That can bypass the record carriers even an ext if that concerns pass.

I mean, uneven you know exactly how to walk on the Internet and do your own thing, it’s pretty challenging out there. Since radio is really stingy around what they space wanting come play. Lock pigeonhole the sort of music they want to expose. Crucial music is yes, really a hard one. You need to really get lucky to obtain some exposure. But it will certainly change. I discover that the bicycle turns.

Yes indeed. The rate of adjust is dizzying. Us just significant 30 years of having actually our slot on public radio to play music native Africa and also the afri diaspora, yet it’s a treasure to have that still. It’s sort of impressive that we carry out still have actually that slot after 30 years, because that music has actually very little exposure otherwise.

You know, I have the UCLA Herb Alpert institution of Music. We just put together a scholarship in the surname of Hugh Masekela. That going to send a student to southern Africa to study. We want to pass on the beautiful music the emanates from southern Africa. What’s continue now, together you more than likely know, is the music is really obtaining together from different parts that the world. It’s kind of a collage of sounds from all over the world, and it’s beautiful.

But the point that so intriguing for me, and this might be a simpleton statement, however there’s just 12 notes the we’re all playing: 12 notes in the west lexicon. Mozart had those notes. Beethoven had those notes. Thelonious Monk had those notes. Charlie Parker had those notes. And also there’s just 12 the them. In the different variations that you can have with various rhythms and sounds and blah lol blah, ns mean, that is pretty impressive. That’s the secret of mysteries, the you deserve to scramble all that up and still have something that’s original.

The possibilities room endless.

That’s exciting.

I remember Quincy Jones saying something very similar to the in one interview. Well, we certainly want come hear an ext about this Hugh Masekela scholarship. We must stay in touch on that.

We’re really proud that it. And also I’m proud that ns was able to carry out that for a guy who really made his mark. And also it wasn’t on luck. It was on this good talent he had. He was involved. He to be politically involved. He to be somebody that was looking for the an excellent stuff. So I’m proud to have known Hugh, and I’m glad that I’m able to carry out that because that him.

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Well, congratulations. Look front to see you and Lani in new York in a couple of weeks.