CD Review: Herb Alpert "Steppin' Out"

April 21, 2014

[Shout! Factory]

The music mogul/trumpeter’s longtime gift for casting great compositions in the latest light has taken on an added dimension over his last three CDs, with the inclusion of his terrific touring band, which features keyboardist Bill Cantos, drummer Michael Shapiro, and bass force Hussain Jiffry. Jiffry’s muted, spontaneous staccato groove drives a funky cover of the Tijuana Brass smash “The Lonely Bull,” while he uses longer tones to lock down “Jacky’s Place.” Moving to upright, he adds seeing-eye support to fresh harmonic looks at “Europa” and “What’ll I Do.” Best of all is Hussain’s expressive fretless work as a counter-voice to Alpert and his vocalist wife, Lani Hall, on “Skylark” (recast in the relative minor), “I Only Have Eyes for You,” the Latin-jazz waltz “Good Morning Mr. Sunshine,” and Astor Piazzolla’s stirring “Oblivion.”

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