Center Presents: Herb Alpert and Lani Hall in Concert
The Palladium // Thursday, September 22, 7:30 p.m. ET
Trumpeter Herb Alpert rose to fame in the 1960s with his band the Tijuana Brass and went on to score hits with “A Taste of Honey,” “What Now My Love,” “This Guy’s in Love with You” and “Rise.” He has earned nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 72 million records. He also is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee as co-founder of A&M Records, one of the most successful independent labels in music history. Lani Hall, Alpert’s wife, is a Grammy-winning vocalist and producer who first gained attention as lead singer for Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 and later sang the title theme for the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.”
The last 2 years may have kept legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert and his Grammy-winning vocalist wife Lani Hall from completing their North American tour, but 2022 has showed the dynamic duo are making up for lost time both creatively and performance-wise.
Last September, Herb released his latest 14-song album, “Catch the Wind,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Current Contemporary Jazz Album Charts. Herb’s Grammy-winning album and title track, “Rise,” released in 1979, has once again surged to the top of the charts, 42 years after it last dominated the airwaves, thanks to the classic soundtrack of the newly released Netflix film “Spiderhead,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller.
In January, Lani Hall released “Seasons of Love,” her first album in 24 years. Emotionally and thematically, “Seasons of Love” reflects the depth and breadth of Lani and Herb’s 49 years as marriage partners and artistic collaborators. On the LP, Lani brings her rich life experience, deepened perspective and accrued wisdom to a song cycle that explores the nuances of an enduring relationship. Speaking to the title track of her album from the Broadway musical hit “Rent,” Lani said, “I love the beautiful message, and I love how this song breaks down life in increments.” The album reached the top 10 on the Contemporary Jazz Album chart.
Purchase your tickets at thecenterpresents.org.
Janelle Morrison: Congratulations on the release of your latest albums, and I’d like to congratulate you and Lani on 49 years of marriage! What’s the secret?
Herb Alpert: Thank you. We’ve been together longer than that but officially married for 49 [years], which is pretty amazing. They said it couldn’t be done. [Laughing]. The secret is I married an angel. I love her, and we communicate. We don’t go to sleep angry with each other, and if we have a problem, we try to work it out and be honest. I kind of learned years ago: she’s from Venus and I’m from Mars. I’ve always been conscious of thinking of things from her point of view when we run into a little snag.
JM: What made you two decide this was the right time to go back out on tour, and what are you most excited about regarding this specific tour?
Alpert: We’ve been touring for the last 14 years but had to take time off for COVID, and we had to postpone a lot of engagements. So, we’re in the process of making those up, and we’re booked through 2023. I’m enjoying it! I love to play and to make a certain amount of people happy with the music that I make, and it’s a great honor to be able to do that.
JM: You’ve witnessed a lot of evolutions in the music industry and the music culture over the many decades. Right now, I think our nation is trying to figure out what do with one another, heal from the damage to humanity over the last few years and move forward. What are your thoughts on music and the arts in general being a source of that healing process?
Alpert: There’s no doubt in my mind that music is the heart and soul of our country — and the arts in general. We need artists, and we need music in our lives. I’m very steeped in jazz and helping to promote that form of music, because I think it’s what everybody is looking for — it’s all about freedom. I think most people are pursing to be free.
JM: You and Lani founded the Herb Alpert Foundation and are strong advocates for getting the arts back into the schools. What are your thoughts on the importance of outreach programs and being engaged in the arts?
Alpert: The arts need to be a core part of our children’s education, and unfortunately, they’ve been wiped out for the most part in public and even in a lot of private schools. There’s a wealth of good things that happen through the arts, and the kids need to rub elbows with it at an early age. It doesn’t mean they have to be professional musicians; they just have to understand why [music], the importance of it and the need for it to be an integral part of our lives.
The reason why I’m so involved in the arts is because I love the mystery of it. I think art is a “feeling.” If I stumble around trying to identify the beauty of all the arts, I’d never “get” it. If you stand in front of a Jackson Pollock painting and try to find a reason for it, you’ll never get it. But if you just take it in and let yourself go to that other dimension — you’ll get it. I think music is the same way. Don’t think too hard about it — is it good, is it bad, is it hip, is it corny, is it jazz or is it pop? Who cares? It doesn’t matter. The question is, “Does it touch you when you hear it?” That’s the kind of music I try to make, and hopefully, it will touch another person along the line. I hope to inspire others to support the arts — that’s one of my goals as well.
JM: I’ve heard you say in previous interviews that being authentic and passionate are important attributes in an artist, and going back to when you co-founded A&M Records, you listened to auditions with your eyes closed.
Alpert: I learned that from Sam Cooke. I worked with Sam years back, and he taught me a lot. Sam used his “gut.” He was a great soul singer and was part of the Soul Stirrers. He taught me a lot about what to look for and listen for. He would say to me, “Herb, people are listening to a cold piece of wax — it either makes it, or it don’t.” I know what he was trying to say is that it’s all about a “feel.” And it’s the beauty that is the mystery of the arts.
JM: What kinds of “feels” do you hope the audience will experience when you and Lani come to perform at the Palladium in Carmel, Indiana?
Alpert: I think you will feel our energy, which is real. My wife is a world-class singer, and we have three world class musicians performing behind us. It’s a full type of experience that they’re going to have. I’ll do a “Tijuana Brass” retrospective and a medley of songs that people will recognize, and Lani will do that as well for Brasil ’66 with a medley that she does. We’re still doing music that makes us feel good and that we love to play. It’s different every night. It’s not a cookie cutter type of performance. We keep it fresh and real. That’s what I’ve been pursing for many years, and I try to be authentic. If you’re an artist out there and you’re looking for the answer — the answer is within you. You have to be authentic and try to find your own voice and your own way of doing what you love to do.