Trumpeter and pop music icon Herb Alpert and his wife, former Brasil '66 vocalist Lani Hall, have recorded and performed together a few times since meeting over 43 years ago. However, it wasn't until 2007 that the duo began touring and performing regularly. In 2009, they released the album Anything Goes, which found them interpreting standards and Brazilian music. They followed that album up with 2011's I Feel You, which continued in the jazz, Brazilian, and Latin music vein, adding in more contemporary pop songs. Alpert and Hall's 2013 release, Steppin' Out, also features a warm collection of songs that hit upon all the stylistic touchstones of their careers, from '60s novelty instrumentals to Latin music, Brazilian bossa nova, smooth jazz, and American popular song standards. Once again joining Alpert and Hall here is their touring ensemble featuring pianist/keyboardist Bill Cantos, drummer/percussionist Michael Shapiro, and bassist Hussain Jiffry. Steppin' Out also reunites Alpert with keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who appeared on Alpert's 1997 album, Passion Dance, and who produced his 1996 album, Second Wind. Generally speaking, Steppin' Out is the most stylistically varied of the three Alpert/Hall albums, moving from an electronic/dance reworking of "Puttin' on the Ritz" to the atmospheric orchestral ballad "I Only Have Eyes for You," Hall's poignant interpretation of Irving Berlin's "What'll I Do?," a dramatic symphonic take on Astor Piazzolla's 1982 nuevo tango masterpiece "Oblivion," and the smooth funk of the Alpert/Lorber original "Migration." The album even ends with Alpert revisiting his 1963 Tijuana Brass breakthrough hit "The Lonely Bull," this time with additional orchestral and electronic flourishes that sound less '60s lounge pad and more contemporary James Bond action movie theme, accented by Alpert's Miles Davis-influenced soloing. Ultimately, Steppin' Out represents not just the third album in a trilogy, but a loving creative partnership that, for Alpert and Hall, spans a lifetime.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar