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October 1999

Herb Alpert
Colors
Almo Sounds

Using his personal label-Almo Sounds-as a staging area, the legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert has done some of his most fruitful experimenting in recent years. His latest release-an eponymous album with the accompanying band dubbed Colors (Almo Sounds; 46:31)-is no exception, wrapping little packages of extra-crispy percussion, neat modern arrangements and universal touches in the ribbon of his haunted leads. Producers Will Calhoun and Doug Wimbush leave their modern hip-bop fingerprints on tunes like the Latin-derived techno-march, "Dorita," and the lumbering, industrial drag-groove lurching beneath acoustic piano on "Colors." A prime example of this old-meets-new approach is lead-off track "Libertango," a Pet Shop Boys-like pastiche of disco trip rhythms and '70s orchestral swirl, with a funky accordion line bringing an odd, old world quality to the mix. A postmodern, trance-like take on the Bacharach classic, "The Look of Love" is another highlight, with Alpert teasingly pinching and tweaking his mute tone for just the right dark effect.

Originally published in October 1999
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