Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass / Herb Alpert

Bullish

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Yes, Herb Alpert did indeed record an album in 1984 under the name Tijuana Brass for the first time in nine years -- and in fact, he took a Tijuana Brass contingent on tour that year with four of the original bandmembers on hand. But this album has nothing to do with the old TJB, for the music is the same high-tech pop of the 1980s that Alpert had been mostly purveying since "Rise," and with synths galore, a frantic electronic dance beat on many numbers, and none of the original Brass on the sessions. No wonder, for the arranger is John Barnes, who had worked for the Jacksons (Alpert was no fool; the Jacksons' sound was never hotter). About all that remains of the TJB is Alpert's familiar trumpet, which often hearkens back to his '60s manner in this gleaming setting. The best moments are the whomping title track, the hyperactive "Struttin' on Five," and the optimistic "Life Is My Song." But to call this a "Tijuana Brass" album is bordering on consumer fraud for the faithful -- though on its own terms, it is a fairly live slice of '80s pop.

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