Although trumpeter and pop icon Herb Alpert is largely associated with his jazz, Latin, and lounge instrumentals of the '60s and '70s, he's never fully retired from the music scene. In fact, Alpert's 2013 album with wife and vocalist Lani Hall won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Album. Coming on the heels of that album, Alpert's 2014 effort, In the Mood, finds the stylistically wide-ranging artist once again bringing together a mix of jazz standards, smooth pop instrumentals, and infectious original compositions. Working with his nephew, arranger/producer Randy Badazz Alpert, as well as such longtime collaborators as Bill Conti, Mike Shapiro, and Jeff Lorber, Alpert has crafted an album that perfectly updates his approach for a modern audience. Alpert was an early adopter of electronic sounds and In the Mood is no exception as it features a very club-ready, EMD reworking of the swing-era classic "Chattanooga Choo Choo." It's an iconoclastic move also echoed in his funky, hip-hop-inflected take on "Blue Moon." While Alpert always seems to be in search of new musical ground to explore, he's conversely never afraid to revisit his past, as evidenced by his electronic- and contemporary R&B-infused arrangement of his old Tijuana Brass number "Spanish Harlem." Elsewhere, Alpert teams again with Hall for several gorgeous, laid-back Latin numbers including the funky "Don't Cry," and the romantic "5 A.M." And it’s not just Alpert's knack for crafting listenable, relaxing pop songs that makes In the Mood so enjoyable. Arguably, Alpert's trumpet playing has only deepened over the years and cuts here, like his poignant orchestral reading of "When Sunny Gets Blue," reveal his gift for small group jazz balladry that brings to mind a mix of Chet Baker and Harry Sweets Edison. Ultimately, whether he's digging deep into a jazz standard, or defying expectations with a breezy electronic arrangement, Alpert proves yet again he is a true pop journeyman on In the Mood.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar