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Herb Alpert: In the Mood

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Among the 14 selections that fill Herb Alpert’s latest, his 38th career album, the Glenn Miller-associated title tune is not included. Which begs an obvious question: In the mood for what? Love? Nostalgia? Patriotism? The correct answer is all of the above.

Alpert opens with another Miller anthem, “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” reimagining the breezy big-band number as a slice of electronica-fueled smooth jazz, loops courtesy of nephew Randy “Badazz” Alpert. From there the trumpeter travels all over the musical map, from a caffeinated “Blue Moon” to a twilit “Begin the Beguine,” and from a richly textured “Spanish Harlem” to a spare, dreamy “When Sunny Gets Blue” elegantly arranged by Eduardo del Barrio. Along the way, there’s a double nod to the Everly Brothers with tender treatments of “Let It Be Me” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.”

Alpert’s wife, estimable vocalist Lani Hall, makes brief appearances, buried in the background on “Dream,” lightly dusting the shadowy “5 am” and echoing her Brasil ’66 roots on “Don’t Cry.” As on Alpert’s previous album, last year’s Grammy-winning Steppin’ Out, she is sadly underutilized. Alpert closes with an august “America the Beautiful” featuring a blend of percussion instruments from around the globe, intended to extol the U.S.’s melting-pot ethos. The album’s less-showy apex arrives, however, five tracks earlier, with the serenely lovely “Morning,” bright and promising as a cloudless dawn.

Originally Published