Herb Alpert seems to have lost his shirt on the way to the photo shoot for the album – but it looks like he's still got his trumpet to keep him warm! Joking aside, the album's a great one from the later Herb – one of those sets that has him turning his strong talent for a trumpet solo in the direction of soulful fusion and R&B-inflected jazz – maybe taking a page from the book of Chuck Mangione or Maynard Ferguson in the process, but definitely giving things his own sort of spin! The arrangements are nicely tasteful – electric, but never clunkily so, especially for the time – and Alpert's trumpet really does a great job of warming things up. Titles include "Latin Lady", "Garden Party", "Paradise Cove", "Gently", "True Confessions", "The Midnight Tango", and "Sundown". (Jazz, Now Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
One of the harder to find Sammy records, and one of the best! Sammy takes Mel Torme's drippy "California Suite", an extended work about how great California is – and he turns it into an extended chat between Sammy and a friend in a bar in New York City, with twists and turns that are way jazzier, and way hipper than Mel's version, which features a whiny woman playing the part of the New Yorker. Side two of the record features some great sensitive versions of Mel Torme tunes – like "Welcome To The Club", "A Stranger Called The Blues", and "Willow Road". Arrangements by Marty Paich, too – one of Mel's best arrangers! (Vocalists, Now Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Paul Desmond serves up his own versions of some key tunes by Simon & Garfunkel tunes – with results that are simply amazing! The style here takes all the airy brilliance of the original S&G tunes, and turns it towards a more jazz-based mode – one that has some of the slight Brazilian undercurrents in the rhythms that you'll find on Desmond's previous two albums for CTI! The full arrangements are by Don Sebesky, who brings a great sense of balance to the set – and Herbie Hancock plays some great electric piano, in a group that also features Airto on percussion and Gene Bertoncini on guitar. But the real star of the set is Paul Desmond – blowing with that amazing tone of his – and sliding from tune to tune with effortless ease, in a way that really transforms these tunes in their instrumental readings. Titles include "Cecilia", "Mrs. Robinson", "America", "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright", and "Scarborough Fair" – all done with a sweet jazzy A&M approach! (Jazz, Now Sound)LP, Vinyl record album
Luiz Henrique & Walter Wanderley —
Popcorn ... LP Verve, 1969. Very Good+ ...
An excellent collaboration between two of Verve's best Brazilian artists of the late 60s – the groovy organist Walter Wanderley, and the breezy breathy vocalist Luiz Henrique! The set is a perfect example of the way that Verve took bossa playing and gave it a groovy production twist – turning it into something that was just a little bit different, in a mode that became America's best contribution to the bossa era! The legendary Sivuca puts in a great guest appearance on a few tracks – further enhancing the sound with his "singing" style of accordion work – and the whole thing bounces along in a magical groove that's hardly been duplicated again! Titles include a very unusual funk-based take on "Happy Birthday" – one that has a bit of a break to it – plus "Kee Ka Roo", "Popcorn" (not the Perry-Kingsley hit), "Florianopolis", "In My Automobile", "Dusty Road", and "Blue Island". (Brazil, Now Sound)LP, Vinyl record album