Herb Alpert: Passion Dance

Fans of the classic Tijuana Brass sound will definitely embrace Herb Alpert’s Passion Dance (Almo Sounds AMSO-80014; 44:25)-but anyone seeking hard-hitting, elemental Latin romps will be entranced. Brassy, upbeat compositions like “TKO” bubble over with knuckling, Latin percussion, providing perfect settings for Alpert’s trademark slinky leads. Alpert is clearly enjoying himself here, playing mute against a dancy acoustic guitar setting on “Beba” and slyly reinterpreting Stevie Wonder’s “Creepin'” as a spacious, percussive walk. Both percussion and horns slam harder than ever on the salsa-fied, Afro-Cuban textures threaded through “Baila Conmigo (Dance With Me),” and a refreshed version of the 1982 hit “Route 101,” which features a big beating background texture and some nice syncopated piano riffs. On his 35th album, Alpert proves that he can still jam with the best of them.