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Herb Alpert: Fandango

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The 1960s gave us the Beatles and the Stones, Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin. They also gave us Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Indeed, among the era’s American hitmakers, few came close to matching the popularity of the TJB (none of whom were Mexican, including Alpert, who used to jokingly refer to the septet as “four lasagnas, two bagels and an American cheese”). Sure, it was fizzy, high-caloric pop, and Alpert was a solid though hardly exceptional trumpeter. But as suburbs sprawled, Alpert exhibited absolute genius at steering the hi-fi tastes of the bourgeois-not just with the TJB but with several of the acts under his A&M banner, including Sergio Mendes and the Carpenters.

So it should come as no surprise that Alpert’s second (and less seismic) wave of success in the late 1970s and early ’80s would, for better or worse, prove equally influential. It’s reasonable to aver that he, as much or more so than Bob James, Chuck Mangione or David Sanborn, was quite literally instrumental in ushering in the smooth-jazz craze with a quartet of albums culminating in 1982’s Fandango, newly remastered and reissued.

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