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Herb Alpert

Under a Spanish Moon

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Again, as in the case of Rise, Herb Alpert courageously followed a megahit album with a bold one that took big chances. The centerpiece of the album is "Under a Spanish Moon," an ambitious three-movement trumpet concerto commissioned by Alpert from the Argentinian-born composer Jorge del Barrio. A neo-classical, sometimes dissonant piece combining the Pacific Symphony Orchestra with electronic textures, "Under a Spanish Moon" successfully evokes the neo-classical period of Manuel de Falla and hauntingly captures the lonely Alpert muted-trumpet persona in the slow movement "Lamento." It's a fine piece of music, although difficult to perform (as the L.A. Philharmonic found out in a disastrous live performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1988). The rest of the brief (34 minutes) CD clearly revolves around the concerto, with Alpert pursuing a moody, synth-laden direction, covering tunes by Sting ("Fragile"), Keith Jarrett ("My Song") and hooking up with another del Barrio, Eddie, on four others. Admittedly, it's easier to experiment when you co-own the record company, but Alpert's willingness to continually risk his artistic capital and grow is laudable and rare among pop musicians.

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