Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tribute to Herb Alpert

This is an interesting article about Herb Alpert, though his name is messpelled as AlBert several times in the course of the article.

We had a Tijuana Brass LP back in about 1974 and loved it. Our baby boy used to love singing along to it.

Here a few snippets:
It’s tough to imagine a bigger name in the music world than trumpet player Herb Alpert. He’s won eight Grammys. He’s cut 14 albums that went platinum, 15 that went gold.

He’s the “A” in A&M Records. He discovered the Carpenters. He’s made millions of dollars as an entertainer and artist and given millions of dollars away to support the arts.

Albert grew up in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, a Jewish neighborhood; his father was a Jewish immigrant from Russia and his mother a Californian.

His father played mandolin by ear, and young Herb picked up music quite naturally. He went to the University of Southern California, where he was in the Trojan marching band, and did a stint in the Army before returning to Los Angeles to work in the music industry.

Early on, he was fascinated by recording technology. His first audio recorder was a WebCor wire recorder. (For the uninitiated, wire recorders used a hair-thin strand of wire running rapidly between reels to record magnetic pulses.)

“That really dates me,” Alpert laughed. “Don’t put that in there!”

He soon moved onto magnetic tape. “And then when I heard Les Paul overdubbing his guitar several times. I tried that on the horn, just out of curiosity and came up with this sound I thought was interesting.”

That was the sound of the Tijuana Brass.

A little known fact: The Tijuana Brass never existed as a band until after its album “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” came out in 1965. The early TJB was all Herb Alpert and his tape recorder.

But after “Whipped Cream” skyrocketed on the charts, people wanted to book the band for concerts. Alpert started hiring musicians to play the music he already had laid down on tape.

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