Having enjoyed a career resurgence since returning to regular touring and recording in 2007, trumpeter and pop icon Herb Alpert celebrates his ten-year run with 2017's vibrant Music, Vol. 1. As with his more recent releases, Music, Vol. 1 finds him reworking a set of well-curated standards and 20th century pop classics in an electronic-tinged, often dance-oriented style. Included are songs by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, the Beatles, and others. The difference this time out is that rather than working with any of his longtime collaborators, here Alpert recorded with veteran Dutch producer Jochem van der Saag (Andrea Bocelli, Barbra Streisand, Michael Bublé). The result is an album of kinetic, highly animated arrangements reminiscent of the trumpeter's classic '60s easy listening tracks, but with a modern twist. For fans of Alpert's albums since 2009's comeback Anything Goes, there is plenty to enjoy here, including his Parisian-chanson-meets-midtempo-ska rendition of the Beatles' "Michelle" and his similarly genre-bending swing-meets-electro-reggae take on the standard "Strike Up the Band." We also get similarly effective transmutations like the hip-hop-infused "Unforgettable" (which also features Alpert's boyish vocals), a '90s-style new jack swing version of "You Stepped Out of a Dream," and a jaunty, lounge-ready version of "C'est Si Bon." While the album has a generally lighter emotional tone than Alpert's Grammy-nominated 2016 effort Human Nature, we do get his lovingly rendered, orchestral-synth accented take on John Lennon's "Imagine." Ultimately, with Alpert having entered his octogenarian decade, it's life-affirming to hear him continue to deliver such buoyant and creatively engaged albums as this.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar