Herb Alpert

Midnight Sun

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Having recently sold A&M to PolyGram for a cool $500 million, and with his short but hugely affecting association with the late Stan Getz on his mind, Herb Alpert finally took the plunge and recorded what he called a jazz album, his last for the label he co-founded. But this would not be a conventional blowing session; rather it is an intimate, inward, wee-small-hours kind of album where, muted and not, Alpert's horn sighs, laments and sings over a conventional rhythm section and underneath a blanket of lush strings. Without a doubt, Miles Davis in his introspective '50s mode is Herb's primary inspiration -- always has been -- and he uses space between the notes in similar ways, but always with his own tone and distinct phrasing. Two old favorites from the TJB days, "A Taste of Honey" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face," are revisited; "Taste" is completely transformed into a dark elegy that breaks into the light before turning back to the shadows. One track, "Friends," was left over from 1990, where Herb was joined by a luminous-sounding Getz; they really play like intimate friends together. This is not a terribly spontaneous album -- Alpert is too much the master of structure to leave very much to chance -- but it creates a mood of melancholy serenity that is difficult to resist.

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