Story and photography by Jimmy Steinfeldt
Palm Desert, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/11/23 – Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall covered much of their amazing songbook at a wonderful concert Thursday night. Some of the repertoire included: The Lonely Bull, Rise, Casino Royale, Tajuana Taxi, This Guys in Love with You, The Fool on The Hill, Night and Day, Puttin’ on the Ritz, On the Sunny Side of The Street, The Look of Love, Whipped Cream, Spanish Flea, Copacabana, Close to You, Route 101, and many more.
Alpert told many wonderful stories throughout the concert. He learned a lot from his idol Louis Armstrong. When he met Armstrong and heard his voice in person and then heard him play, he realized Armstrong’s voice and personality came right through his trumpet. Alpert knew then he should use his own voice and inner personality to create his own sound with the trumpet.
Alpert told the story of when he was dealing with a challenging time in his life. During this time, he found he was stuttering while playing the trumpet. He went to the world’s leading expert to overcome this. Every trumpet player in the world who needed help on their trumpet went to this man. Alpert asked him if the problem was the trumpet. Was it the mouthpiece or maybe the valves? The expert said it’s not the trumpet. The trumpet is just a bunch of pipes welded together; it’s just plumbing. The sound has to come out of you, deep inside! Alpert was cured.
Alpert told a funny story about Ed Sullivan. When Alpert had been a professional musician for many years and had hit songs on the radio Ed Sullivan invited him to be on the show. When they met, Sullivan said “I discovered you.” Alpert said something to the effect “You’re a little late.”
Alpert spoke directly to the sold-out crowd. He asked the audience if they had any questions for him and he continued to tell entertaining stories about Lani, his career and music.
Alpert told the story about how he loved the band Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66. He brought them on the road to be the opening act for his band The Tijuana Brass. He told his musician’s not to fool around with the pretty girls in Brasil ’66. He said it’s not professional. Alpert ended up dating and then marrying one of them, the great Lani Hall. Alpert kissed his wife Lani often during the show. Not surprising since this is their 50th anniversary year. He said they have had several wedding ceremonies over the years including by a rabbi and a priest.
Alpert performed a medley of his greatest hits while he led his band like a suave conductor.
Each of his musicians played an amazing improvisational solo to great applause. The pianist even did a call and response with Alpert. He also paid tribute to his great friend Burt Bacharach and remembered Karen Carpenter who had great success with The Carpenters on Alpert’s record label A&M.
Throughout the concert wonderful photos, and videos chronicling his career were projected behind the band on a fantastic big screen. The terrific acoustics of the McCallum Theatre added to the performance.
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass was the first album I ever bought. I believe Herb Alpert and Lani Hall will be the most entertaining and enjoyable concert you could see in 2023.
For more information on Herb Alpert & Lani Hall: https://herbalpert.com/
The McCallum Theatre: https://www.mccallumtheatre.com/