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Official Review Coney Island [Herb Alpert & The T.J.B.]

Discussion in 'The Beat of The Brass: Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass' started by Rudy, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    [​IMG]

    Release Information

    Vinyl: SP-4521
    CD: forthcoming

    Purchase

    Locate CD at: forthcoming
    Download from Amazon | iTunes
    Locate vinyl on: eBay

    The December, 2015 release marks the first time that the Coney Island album will appear in lossless digital format. Digital download and streaming release date was December 4, 2015, with CD to follow in early 2016.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
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  2. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    December 4, 2015 marks the day that this Herb Alpert & The T.J.B. album, Coney Island, was released in digital lossless form, for the first time. It will be released on CD in early 2016.

    As with any recording that is decades old, sound quality can be variable. The worst of the age-related issues on older recordings are often minimal--just the occasional tape dropout at times, and they are barely audible. There is also the very slight dulling that occurs with magnetic tape over time, something many listeners would not even notice, but might reveal itself in close comparison to the vinyl copy if the listener is equipped with better playback equipment.

    For the most part, this digital release of Coney Island sounds good. I do notice some slight breakup ("splatter") on the louder brass notes. That may be an artifact of the original recording process--I will be doing a closer evaluation of some original vinyl copies to see if it exists there also. Beyond that, this digital version is a nice clean rendition of the original.

    When originally released, this album couldn't have had better promotion. It was featured in a television special with a hot property at the time: The Muppets. The music itself is quite good, showcasing the band and Alpert leaning more towards jazz. "Señor Mouse" was straight out of the Chick Corea playbook, and Edu Lobo's "Vento Bravo" similarly gave the band members a place to stretch out. Alpert makes a nod towards his trumpet mentor Carmine Caruso with the workout "Carmine," which gives trumpet sidekick Bob Findley the chance to show off his chops as well. Older standards show up in the form of "I Have Dreamed" and "Sweet Georgia Brown." There is also a remarkably fluid, fast-paced version of "This Masquerade" that upends what is normally a downtempo tune.

    An interesting track is "Ratatouille," which despite its faux French title, is actually a song of Brazilian origins. It was originally written and recorded by Brazilian jazz artist Moacir Santos as "Coisa No 1", and released on a 1965 album called "Coisas" (roughly translated as "Things"). The ten tracks of the album were labeled one through ten, but presented out of order. This fascinating album features elements of samba, maracatu, African rhythms, jazz, xaxado, baião and Caribbean music, and is one of the the most highly regarded albums to come out of Brazil. Leave it to Herb Alpert to find some obscure gem and give it the T.J.B. treatment!

    The album is full of surprises and takes many stylistic twists and turns. As did Alpert himself. After this second album by his recently formed "T.J.B.," he would shed the group name permanently and continue on as "Herb Alpert." Still, this album remains as a document of a fine assemblage of musicians, some of which would regroup for the Bullish album many years later. And, it's still a blast to listen to all these years later!
     
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  3. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Of the two "T.J.B." albums this one is by far more adventurous and shows the band really having fun in the studio, stretching out. However it's also probably the most uneven album Herb Alpert ever did, being stylistically all over the map.

    Not that that's a bad thing; the album gives the listener a pretty wide sampling of Herb's musical tastes, from straight pop to jazz experimentation. And vocals; the album includes one of my favorites of all his vocal tracks, "I Belong," which features some guest vocals by Lani Hall.

    If anything, the fast tunes here are even more unhinged than the old Tijuana Brass, playing freely with rhythms and often ignoring conventional verse-chorus-bridge song structure of the past.

    Too bad this album wasn't a better performer. It would have been interesting to see which direction Herb would have gone if this album had caught on. A third album by this group was apparently started but never released - some singles from it surfaced over the next couple of years. I still hope we someday will get to hear the other long-rumored "third-T.J.B. album tracks" that are supposedly in the can somewhere.

    The band on this album also played on Lani Hall's second solo album Hello It's Me, but you would never know it by the sound of that album -- such is the skill of Herb's arranging and producing.
     
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  4. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    There is a YouTube video of "Vento Bravo" that is taken at a faster pace and IMHO it flows better than the album version. It more closely follows Edu Lobo's version, where the album version here has that offbeat "bump" of the bass drum that always made that part of the song feel a bit awkward. It is one of my favorite Edu Lobo tracks, though, so I'll listen to any variation out there and like it. :D

    While I wouldn't call it uneven (my own interpretation is that it means the quality of the performances are uneven), I definitely see what you mean--the tunes all draw from sources all over the musical map. "Coisa No. 1" is remarkably obscure to the average listener, yet just about everyone who listened to popular music at that point had heard "This Masquerade." Herb's arranging (and "conducting," if you will) style was such that he could take all of these diverse tunes and make them all fit together as a whole. And, had a band with an overflow of talent that could easily pull these off.

    Herb's "Vento Bravo," live:



    Edu Lobo's version (you can definitely hear the similarities in Herb's live version):

     
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  5. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    Now talkin' about your '70s clothes. I'm just sayin'. :wink:
     
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  6. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    Another good version with Lobo and Tom Jobim:
     
  7. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator

    I love Coney Island. For me it ranks up there with Going Places and S.R.O. as the top TJB albums. I like the flow throughout the album and I love the live feeling of the record along with the jazzier approach. It's more adventurous than a lot of the past albums. Herb's arrangement of "Señor Mouse" is worth the price of the album alone. Dave Frishberg's piano work, the two trumpeters spinning off of each other, Julius Wechter's marimba solo and Steve Schaeffer's grooving drums make the tune really happen. Bob Findley really shines on several tracks, and his "Catfish" is a funky little tune. Gotta love Julius's vibe work on "This Masquerade". "Vento Bravo" is hypnotic. I even like Herb's vocal on "I Belong", and I'm not a big fan of Herb's singing. I'm really looking forward to the hi-def release on this one!

    I have a radio interview of Herb after this album came out. He mentioned that "Sweet Georgia Brown" just happened. They were in the studio and the rhythm section just started doing this little vamp and Herb started to play the melody out of the blue. It was never intended to be on the album but he liked how it came out.
     
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  8. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    That makes sense about "Sweet Georgia Brown." That whole song has a very "unplanned" feel to it. I was surprised at the breakneck speed of it when I first heard it but that's typical Herb, playing something at an tempo you don't expect -- heck he's still doing that today!
     
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  9. Steven J. Gross

    Steven J. Gross Well-Known Member

    I agree with Captain Bacardi, this album is a classic, sounds better than ever, and has my current favorite TJB track: Ratatouille...
     
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  10. JMK

    JMK Well-Known Member Contributor

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  11. Steven J. Gross

    Steven J. Gross Well-Known Member

    Thank you JMK, I can't wait to check this out...:thumbsup:
     
  12. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I bought my first copy of"coney island " sealed and new at a music store for $4.98 w tax it was $5 and change.( Back in 1984 when i was on vacation at my parent's home for christmas")And for me i was hooked on it Ratatouille and Vento bravo and catfish were standouts as well as wechter's Coney island. In fact the entire album to me is one of the best ( albeit lesser known ) TJB classics nowadays when i listen to it i get homesick. ( in a Good way of course) i am looking forward to its long overdue CD release. I know its going to be even better than before.
     
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  13. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Update I did get the CD as planned when it and all the others were released and it sounds Fresher than before and this and all the others I bought were Well worth the long wait.
     
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  14. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    I am glad to get the high-res version, and would have been OK with the CD, as finding a good, clean vinyl version has proven to be nearly impossible (and I have been searching for over 25 years now). The one sealed copy I found happened to be a Columbia Record Club version and it has really poor acoustics--very strange sound to it.
     
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  15. DeeInKY

    DeeInKY Well-Known Member

    Ain't it always the way? :doh:

    I got the CD and really enjoy it. This was one of the releases that I never had before.
     
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  16. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I had that experience with many Columbia Record Club L.p. s but in my experiences Their CDs sounded 100s of times better than both their vinyl and tapes Combined Very Ironic IMO
     
  17. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    I think in the digital age, running off a club copy of an album that was originally on CD was a lot more true to the original sound. But in the analog days, A&M certainly wasn't going to send their original tapes, or even a production master, over to Columbia House or the other clubs to sell the same album.

    I have a couple of 60s LPs that were sold by the Capitol Record Club. You could easily tell because the record labels used an "SMAS-" catalog number, replacing the original. These always sounded duller and had less life than the label's originals.

    Thing is, if an album is really rare...do I get a somewhat clean record club version and at least have the music, or hold out for a genuine copy that might take years to find?
     
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  18. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I remember getting into lots of disputes with music customers over record-club albums. I'd tell them they were inferior and they thought I was just trying hype my more expensive "normal" products. Of course, on a lot of the crappy car systems during that time, a substandard cassette from a record club would sound about the same as what the actual labels were cranking out.

    That's one thing I can say about my music collection though....there is not one "record club edition" on my shelves!

    I'd never heard the Edu Lobo version of "Vento Bravo" until hearing it in this thread -- I like it a lot. I wish Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 had recorded that...would have fit well on the Pais Tropical album.
     
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  19. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    The interesting thing about Columbia House is that they issued recordings on dying formats, like 8-Track, and reel tapes. So people with those products could still buy newer music that the labels were no longer releasing. Strangely, I had one Columbia House reel that almost sounded better than the A&M, since it actually had some higher frequencies to it (unlike the mass-duplicated-by-Ampex crap)...I say "almost" since the speed played back was a bit off. Oops.

    One club that I never understood was their Laserdisc Club. They did not manufacture LDs, nor did any of the discs they sold have any indication that they were club product. In essence they were only resellers. This club turned out to be a steal for LD collectors. The first three selections I picked, like many others, were the Star Wars trilogy, in their originally released letterbox versions. The fulfillment only required two or three more discs to be purchased. But not too long after that...the deals. Incredible. There were some blowout sales where I bought six or seven titles for $50, and that happened more than once. They had other specials running on current product--it was rare that anyone ever paid list price for anything. I don't see how they made any money on this one. Not that we minded! :wink:

    You might like some of Edu Lobo's albums! It's neat to hear "the source" on many of these tunes. And he has many others that are just as good that were not covered by others. His first album, in fact, is excellent, especially with the Tamba Trio backing him and his guitar.
     
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  20. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    I agree and I saw many Of Herbs 60s LPs with the Capitol record club numbers and I heard one once and it was too shrill sounding and distorted and I made it a point to AVOID THOSE VERSIONS for me it was the original A&M manufactured versions I went after regardless of whether it was the ochre or the silver tan labels It Was and still is ALL About The Quality as well as the Sound. However I do understand about the quandry of running into a rare L.p. in a Record Club edition I admit I bought a few of those in my time but they didn't sound bad at all ( I was lucky ) but I know it's an exception rather than the rule.
     
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  21. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    Lots of times I had to turn down customers who would come in the store after Christmas to "exchange" albums and tapes that were "record club" issues. It was actually kind of fun to tell 'em about the catalog numbers and such being different.
     
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  22. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    Reminds me of the time I swapped a noisy pressing purchased via mail order at the local store. :wink: It was too much trouble to send it back, but our store probably received credit for returns back then, so it really was no loss for them. And I bought so much there over the years that it wasn't like I picked them at random.

    That mail order purchase was through a company called, I think, Discount Music Club (or similar...it was not Record Club of America). It wasn't so much a club as a discount music buying service. You would get a Schwann catalog maybe once each quarter, and the club had their discount price listing printed on the back cover. Those were genuine label releases.

    I miss reading through a Schwann catalog. Seeing all those in-print titles was like a gigantic wish list. :D
     
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  23. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    And I Thought The Phonologs were like a Wish List. ( after all where I lived that was all the stores had to determine was was available and in print.) I sure wasn't helped much back in the late 80s/Early 90s
     
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  24. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin Thread Starter

    US
    Phonologs were what retail used to look up and order records from; the Schwann was a consumer version of what was in print, available in paperback book form. The occasional Phonologs also got me into trouble a couple of times. :wink:
     
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  25. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    It was always a dream of mine to subscribe to the Phonolog; but we never did, due to the cost. You would get weekly updates, I think, and then every now and then a whole new catalog. I kept up by reading Billboard, mostly, and THAT wasn't cheap either since it is also weekly.

    My first action, upon getting any new Schwann (or other) music catalog would be to flip right to the A's to see if there were any new Alpert listings, then to the M's to look for Mendes.
     
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