Arts & Culture
12:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Herb Alpert, His Trumpet and Other Delights

Please note: This interview originally aired in June, 2013.

It's been said that you can recognize trumpeter Herb Alpert within the first three notes of a song.

Credit Flickr

Alpert's iconic style has been distinctive since he first came on to the music scene with the song "The Lonely Bull" in the early 1960's.  He dubbed his band "The Tijuana Brass" for that style, even though neither he nor his fellow band members were from Mexico.

He also co-founded his own record company, A&M Records, which issued his albums through the 1960's to a wider and wider audience - perhaps none more so than his album, "Whipped Cream and Other Delights."  That album was known - and is still known - almost as much for its risqué cover as for its music.

His record company boomed, and he went on to record movie and television music, collected six Grammy awards and more than a dozen gold records.

Alpert later took up visual art and solo music - and sold the record company to PolyGram in the late 1980's.  More recently, he has recorded and performed with his wife, singer Lani Hall. 

A self-described “right brained animal," Alpert says creating music is a journey that feeds the soul and nurtures the mind. He says knowing how to play an instrument is just as important as feeling a sound. As an avid supporter of art education, he says music provides a sense of responsibility and “uniqueness” that can be instilled in future generations.

For his own part, Alpert says he's still learning.

"I’m addicted to it, you know," he says. "I’m conditioned to play the horn every day and you never quite get to the point where you feel like you’ve accomplished the instrument. Dizzy Gillespie once said, 'The closer I get, the farther it looks.'"

But Alpert says music, and art in general, is not a medium that can be completely understood; it knows no logic or reason, but rather passion and heart.

“If you try to analyze it you're lost," he says.

After a career producing a monumental amount of material, he is now working on his 34th studio album. He played a concert in Milwaukee in June.