Since his 2009 return to regular recording after a ten-year hiatus, trumpeter Herb Alpert has stayed busy releasing albums, some with his wife, vocalist Lani Hall, and others, like 2015's Come Fly with Me, on his own. 80 years old at the time of this release, Alpert has gone from instrumental pop icon of the '60s and '70s to journeyman performer with decades of experience to draw from. Working with a bevy of longtime collaborators including his nephew, programmer Randy "Badazz" Alpert, bassist/guitarist/producer Hussain Jiffry, keyboardist/producer Bill Cantos, keyboardist/guitarist Jeff Lorber, Alpert has crafted a breezy, low-key collection of originals and cover tunes, that nonetheless retains all of the melodic, jazz-inflected style of his classic recordings. Although Alpert takes on a handful of standards here, he approaches them with a creative sense of fun. To these ends, he reworks the classic Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen title track into a Day-Glo, Brazilian bossa nova production. Similarly, on Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies," Alpert's supple trumpet is framed by lush orchestral strings that give way to a laid-back reggae groove accented by vibrato-soaked, Beatles-esque guitar hits. And it's not just Broadway standards that benefit from the Alpertization process -- the Beatles influence pops up again, this time with his stripped-down, ethereal take on the band's 1969 classic "Something." One of the most interesting and effective transformations here is Alpert's R&B style overhaul of "I've Got a Lot of Livin' to Do," from the musical Bye Bye Birdie. Kicking off with an introspective keyboard figure, the song sounds like something along the lines of Miles Davis covering a yearning '90s soul ballad. As with most all of Alpert's post-2009 material, Come Fly with Me is a much more low-key and intimate recording than the productions that marked the best of his '60s Tijuana Brass period. That said, by keeping things simple, Alpert and his collaborators illuminate all of the tenderness and direct lyricism of his horn playing.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar