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Review: Smooth grooves rule on Herb Alpert's 'Human Nature'

This cover image released by Herb Alpert Presents shows "Human Nature," the latest release by Herb Alpert. (Herb Alpert Presents via AP)
September 30, 2016 - 5:32 AM

Herb Alpert, "Human Nature" (Herb Alpert Presents)

Why mess with success?

Pop-jazz trumpeter Herb Alpert has sold records by the truckload since the 1960s, and if his easy-listening style has become a byword for elevator music, that doesn't make it any less influential.

The 81-year-old founder of the Tijuana Brass returns with an album — his fourth in three years — featuring original compositions alongside tracks by songwriters including Burt Bacharach, seasoned with a light sprinkling of electronic dance music.

Alpert remains a skilled bandleader and arranger. The title track, made famous by Michael Jackson, entirely suits the treatment it gets here: relaxed and largely instrumental, with a Latin groove and a bubbling electronic bassline. The same is true of the lighter-than-air arrangement of Bacharach and Hal David's "Alfie."

The main new element is the strand of electronica underlying Alpert's languid trumpet. It's hardly a radical departure to Alpert's sound, but a skittering electro beat propels Bacharach's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and Alpert's composition "Incognito."

Best of the lot is the closing track, "Doodles," a perky, hip-moving dance tune.

Times change, but Herb Alpert remains resolutely true to himself. And you don't sound this laid-back without working extremely hard.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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