Herb Alpert / Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Christmas Album

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Herb Alpert turned to jazz's Shorty Rogers -- then toiling in the L.A. film and TV studios -- for voice and string arrangements on his Christmas album, and Rogers in turn went all out for schmaltz. Rogers' cooing voices introduce several of the tunes, whereupon the Tijuana Brass do their mostly unrelated Ameriachi thing familiar from past albums. Indeed, "Las Mananitas" seems to have been lifted from an obscure B-side of a 45 and overdubbed with the Rogers treatment. Jingling bells is a recurring song theme -- first with "Jingle Bells," then the cloying "The Bell That Couldn't Jingle," and ultimately "Jingle Bell Rock." For the first time in a long time, Alpert's sense of pacing occasionally goes awry; "My Favorite Things" nearly comes apart in the silences and piano/vocal interlude between the TJB grooves, and "Sleigh Ride" screeches to a dead halt. And yet time and further exposure has revealed this record's homey charms, which no doubt is one reason why it continues to be available on CD where other TJB best-sellers have fallen by the wayside.

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