It’s all about the music when veteran trumpeter Herb Alpert, his charming and talented wife Lani Hall and their musicians take to the stage at the Café Carlyle in their new show (March 5-16, 2013). They work so smoothly together that the numbers are seamless and we are transported to a special world that they create.
Alpert and Hall have known each other for 43 years, they have been married for 39 years and the unity shows consistently in their musical collaboration. They have returned to the Carlyle with the same talented musicians who were with them the last time around, Bill Cantos on piano, Hussain Jiffry on electric bass, and Michael Shapiro on drums and the background beat they provide keeps the rhythm coming steadily.
Hall sings nearly throughout, apart from Alpert’s welcome solos, and she has a style of her own. She can take a standard and give it a punchy staccato twist as with “Anything Goes,” or she can be sweet and mellow singing “Sorri” (“Smile”). She amusingly sings rapid-fire with the lyrics of “Pararaio,” and has a different sort of fun with “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
Of course, Alpert’s reputation with the Tijuanna Brass never leaves him, and he pleases with a “Tijuanna Brass Medley,” including “This Guy’s in Love with You” and other favorites. Time fades when we become immersed in his soloing, as with “And the Angels Sing,” for which pianist Cantos has done a special arrangement,” or “Besame Mucho.”
At a late point in the program, Alpert asks audience members if they have any questions, not requests, just questions. A bit of banter flows, but I always find that sort of thing a distraction. It’s the music that counts, especially with the expertise that provides such a glow to the show.
Among the numbers getting various treatments are “Moondance,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” “Old Black Magic,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Viola Fora de Moda,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” the latter sung by Hall, who does get under one’s skin with her enthusiasm and easy-going manner.
Oh yes, Alpert has a new album.
For supper club entertainment at is best, this is the place to be through March 16 is the Café Carlyle, 35 East 76th Street (at Madison Avenue). Phone: 212-744-1600.