I Feel You
More than four decades have passed since Herb Alpert parted company with the original members of the Tijuana Brass and Lani Hall abandoned her post as vocal cornerstone of Sergio Mendes’ Brasil ’66. For 36 of those years Alpert and Hall have been married. Their individual careers have continued apace, though rarely to the dizzying heights of their 1960s successes. Over the years, they’ve often worked together, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they released their first full-length collaboration, the in-concert Anything Goes.
Now comes their first studio album. That Alpert’s once-thundering trumpeting has significantly diminished in strength is hardly surprising. Nor is it unexpected that the pure power of Hall’s vocals, once the equivalent of an Alpine snowstorm, have grown more temperate. Still, they remain remarkably compelling performers. Drawing heavily from the A&M catalog that Alpert once ruled, their eclectic playlist includes the mesmeric Sandpipers hit “Cast Your Fate to the Wind,” Tony Hatch’s “Call Me” (made famous by slight-voiced Chris Montez), the Brasil ’66 staple “Viola” and one of the TJB’s signature tunes, “What Now My Love.”
The general mood suggests a midnight luau—balmy, sensual and vaguely mystical. Alpert, by his own admission never a strong vocalist, manages an intriguingly stealthy “Moondance” and sounds convincingly bedraggled on what is surely the first male interpretation of “Something Cool.” For her part, Hall continues to pack tremendous emotional punch, particularly when plumbing the romantic disillusion of the Bill Cantos title tune and scaling the peaks of “Berimbau.”