HUB EXCLUSIVE: Grammy-Winning Herb Alpert & Lani Hall Prep For September 16 Show In Modesto

HUB EXCLUSIVE: Grammy-Winning Herb Alpert & Lani Hall Prep For September 16 Show In Modesto

By Michael P Coleman

Herb Alpert has been a force in the entertainment industry for over five decades, first as frontman for The Tijuana Brass, then as solo star and record executive,  At one point near the dawn of his career, he and his band were outselling The Beatles. 

More significantly for me, he released the sublime “Rise” in 1979 and promptly convinced me to ditch my middle school trumpet lessons.  After hearing that track, and the entire breathtaking album of the same title (which includes a scintillating cover of The Crusaders’ “Street Life”), I knew nothing I ever played would make anyone feel the way Alpert’s music made me feel. 

“As an artist, you’re looking for your own voice, your own way of doing it,” the 83-year-old icon  EXCLUSIVELY told me by phone, as he prepped for his show this Sunday at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto.   “The beauty of music, of art in general is that there’s a mystery to it.  I had the pleasure of playing with Louis Armstrong one night, and I realized that this guy’s personality and goodness and generosity and authenticity came right through his instrument. When you heard that horn, that was Louis, and that was a rare gift.” 

“I strive for that. I want to be authentically me and if you like it, great.  If you don’t, I’m still going to be playing that same way.”

After over 50 years, I think Alpert can rest assured that his legions of fans like it!  And over the decades, he’s been reminded of his music’s ability to take those listeners to destinations around the world. 

“Years ago, I got a letter from a lady in Germany who thanked me for our breakthrough album, 1962’s The Lonely Bull,” Alpert remembered.  “She said we’d sent her on this vicarious trip to Tijuana!  That record was so visual for her it transported her several thousand miles.  That’s the type of music I want to make: the kind that takes you someplace.”

Alpert promises several unplanned excursions during his performance in Modesto.

“There will be a medley of the hits, and beyond that it’s gonna be a lot of improvisation,” Alpert says of the upcoming Modesto show.  “We’ve been playing with the same group for the last 12 years, and I keep it fresh every day, every night, every concert — there’s always that unexpected thing that happens within the songs.  It’s pretty loose.  Kinda like this…”

And at that point during our conversation, like a pop pied piper, Alpert blew a few brilliant bars on his trumpet, drawing me further in. 

“I’m doing it just about every day of my life because you never really get to the place when you say you’ve captured the instrument,” Alpert said.  “Dizzy Gillespie was a friend of mine, and he used to say ‘the closer I get, the farther it looks!’ And that’s true.  As a musician, you never get there, and the pursuit of trying to get to that place keeps you going.” 

Alpert says his wife, multiple Grammy-winning vocalist Lani Hall, will be a major part of the magic that’s bound to happen in Modesto this weekend. 

“Lani is a world-class singer, and she’ll knock you down with her incredible voice,” Alpert continued.  “I don’t think anyone will be disappointed if they come to see the show. It’s honest. It’s real. People will feel better when they leave than when they entered. We’re putting out good love vibes,  It’s going to be fun.”

Click here for tickets to see Herb Alpert and Lani Hall on September 16 in Modesto. 

Look to THE HUB in the coming weeks for more from our EXCLUSIVE interview with Herb Alpert, including info about his BRILLIANT upcoming album, to be released October 19.

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Connect with Sacramento-based freelancer Michael P Coleman and Coleman Communications at michaelpcoleman.com, or follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP