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News Herb Alpert Is... Documentary Comments and Impressions

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Welcome back to the Corner, Badazz, and beautiful job on the box set package! (I haven't seen the documentary yet, waiting for the Blu-Ray.)
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Thread Starter
Staff member
Site Admin
The cost of that binding is also a product of the digital age--with books in decline and Kindles on the rise, binderies are not as busy as they used to be and can charge a premium price for their services. I would probably be a nervous wreck handling the LP set, afraid I'd damage the binding. 😁
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
That is my impression also. I get the feeling he is grateful, yet somewhat detached from and bemused by it all, perhaps even still a bit baffled as to how he got to this point (I know I would be!). The intense fame didn't fit his style, as we know what happened once the original TJB had their incredibly successful run. He'd rather make music, paint and sculpt but otherwise fly under the radar. I also don't blame him for his privacy--I roll that way myself. Keeps life low-key and low-stress.
Hi Rudy~ Herb is the same person that I knew as a 5 year old kid and the same as when I was a 10 year old kid packing & shipping "Whipped Cream" & "South of the Border" albums at 8255 Sunset after school. Later on he was the same guy when we were doing "Rise" & "Rotation" and many years later when I came in to help set up a label in 2013 and do the "Ritz" song, Herb, as Lou Adler says in the movie,, "He is just Herbie".
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
Thanks for the reply Randy - I appreciate your honesty and welcomed your perspectives in the documentary. It sounds like it was amazing to grow up around Herb, A&M, and everything that was happening there at that time. My only issue with that particular point in the film is that I'd have a hard time unabashedly recommending the doc to some people I know who are fans of the TJB, without having to issue a "heads-up" to them about the language, knowing their sensitivity to it. But those are just some of the circles I travel within. (As a point of contrast, I work at CalArts. So those are some of the other circles I travel within. 😎 )
What surprised me was, even after Carpenters established themselves as consistent hitmakers and moneymakers for the label, how many folks at A&M were rooting for them to fail. They cared about a hip image more than they did the millions of dollars coming in from one act.
Hi Michael~ Yes I was 14 years old on that day of the promotion meeting that was held on the A&M Soundstage and I think I learned a whole bunch of new words that day. Looking back I totally understand as A&M along with the mainstream music business had moved from the easy going pop AC music into the hard rock music. So Jerry Moss was playing new Joe Cocker records, Humble Pie, Free's "All Right Now", etc. At that moment in time these young promo people felt that the easy listening pop records of the Carpenters wasn't cool but the public, all over the world, certainly embraced the Carpenters.
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
As a life-long fan of Herb, I thought the documentary was very well done and very long overdue. I love success stories like this.

I started playing the trumpet in the 4th grade, and continued through high school. I took private music lessons from a teacher who studied under Carmine Caruso. And I played from the Arban's book. :)

There was a scene in the documentary where Herb was sitting at a piano, explaining how "The Lonely Bull" got started. That footage was from an interview he did with Bruce Morrow (a.k.a. Cousin Brucie) for WNBC-TV around 1975. I still have the original audio recording I made of that interview. This was the only time I have seen a video clip of that interview since it originally aired.

I felt the scene with Herb and Lani on the beach at sunset was intentionally similar to the scene he shot with his first wife during the "Beat of the Brass" special. It may have been during the earlier BBC documentary where Bob Edmonson referred to that scene as being a large contributor to "This Guy's" popularity.

The scenes inside of A&M were ones I had never seen before. Very cool...

I thought it was very touching that John Pisano wanted to support Herb when he experienced difficulty playing, considering John's reluctance to join the touring band when it first started.

We know that among his many talents, Herb can sing, and play the trumpet, and play the PIANO. If Herb were to do a Volume 4 where he re-imagines his work after the TJB, I think his piano rendition of "Rise" could be the title track. Just sayin' :wink:

Looking forward to the release of the TV specials...


John-NJ
Hi John~ Herb does indeed have a nice take on playing "Rise"... I am looking into releasing those TJB Specials. There are some issues with the quality of those 1960's shows. We have preserved them as much as possible but some of the quality is a bit funky due to the film/tape degradation over the past 50 years. That first Special and the "Beat of the Brass" Special are certainly GREAT shows with great visuals and music. So we are on it and just want to ensure that we can release these inexpensively with the very best sound and picture possible.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Moderator
There are some issues with the quality of those 1960's shows. We have preserved them as much as possible but some of the quality is a bit funky due to the film/tape degradation over the past 50 years. That first Special and the "Beat of the Brass" Special are certainly GREAT shows with great visuals and music. So we are on it and just want to ensure that we can release these inexpensively with the very best sound and picture possible.
Fabulous news. Please keep us posted as to what we can expect, and when. Just great news.
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
Welcome back to the Corner, Badazz, and beautiful job on the box set package! (I haven't seen the documentary yet, waiting for the Blu-Ray.)
Thanks Mike. We really wanted a fan-centric book with as much information and visuals as possible. I just received a vinyl and CD set yesterday as I had not seen the finished product. This was a very difficult project to manufacture due to so many delays and problems because of the virus. Raw materials are very hard to get and may people were ill so there were very limited hours that manufacturing facilities were open. The vinyl was pressed in the UK, we had 3 different facilities in various US cities manufacturing the case, printing the album sleeves, a real book binding company, a silk screening facility and then final assembly in San Diego before everything shipped to the distribution center in Kentucky. Lots of moving parts and sleepless nights due to deadlines and problems but the package is gorgeous and everyone really did a fantastic job.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Hi Michael~ Yes I was 14 years old on that day of the promotion meeting that was held on the A&M Soundstage and I think I learned a whole bunch of new words that day. Looking back I totally understand as A&M along with the mainstream music business had moved from the easy going pop AC music into the hard rock music. So Jerry Moss was playing new Joe Cocker records, Humble Pie, Free's "All Right Now", etc. At that moment in time these young promo people felt that the easy listening pop records of the Carpenters wasn't cool but the public, all over the world, certainly embraced the Carpenters.
Randy, you and I are the same age!

I met your Uncle Herb once. As a 17-year old baby radio PD, I was invited to visit the lot by Jan Basham, who used to do West Coast promotion.

We were walking down the hallway outside the studios, with the spotlights shining down when a man dressed in sweats and a beach cap came walking our way. "Oh, good! Herbie's here!" Jan said.

I had no idea until the light hit his face. Herb Alpert.

He took the time to talk with me. Lovely guy. I'd enjoyed his music since I'd first heard it as a little kid, but the few minutes of conversation showed what a terrific human was behind all that.

My wife and I saw Herb & Lani's show in Napa on February 29th of this year. Our last big outing.

We hope they're both well and that they can get back to touring safely soon.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Thread Starter
Staff member
Site Admin
Hi Rudy~ Herb is the same person that I knew as a 5 year old kid and the same as when I was a 10 year old kid packing & shipping "Whipped Cream" & "South of the Border" albums at 8255 Sunset after school. Later on he was the same guy when we were doing "Rise" & "Rotation" and many years later when I came in to help set up a label in 2013 and do the "Ritz" song, Herb, as Lou Adler says in the movie,, "He is just Herbie".
That follows the mantra of, "Success hasn't spoiled me yet!" 😉

I've only met Herb once (back in 2009 after a gig), but having worked with other well-known jazz musicians, I found the same to be true. They were just ordinary folks like you and I, except they had a much cooler job. There are of course those musicians out there whose ego is as big as the room they stand in, but Herb (and Lani, for that matter) don't have an ounce of it.
 

TjbBmb

Member
Hi John~ Herb does indeed have a nice take on playing "Rise"... I am looking into releasing those TJB Specials. There are some issues with the quality of those 1960's shows. We have preserved them as much as possible but some of the quality is a bit funky due to the film/tape degradation over the past 50 years. That first Special and the "Beat of the Brass" Special are certainly GREAT shows with great visuals and music. So we are on it and just want to ensure that we can release these inexpensively with the very best sound and picture possible.
No love for the Brass Are Coming? Lol

I would love to get a chance to see the special Herb did with Louis Armstrong. I’m surprised it hasn’t surfaced in all the years.
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
I would love to get a chance to see the special Herb did with Louis Armstrong. I’m surprised it hasn’t surfaced in all the years.
It wasn't actually a special it was the weekly KRAFT MUSIC HALL. which had a different host each week.
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Count me in as another buyer of those TV specials. I can still remember fighting with my sisters over the lone TV in our house when they wanted to watch something on the other channel. :)
 

John-NJ

Member
Hi John~ Herb does indeed have a nice take on playing "Rise"... I am looking into releasing those TJB Specials. There are some issues with the quality of those 1960's shows. We have preserved them as much as possible but some of the quality is a bit funky due to the film/tape degradation over the past 50 years. That first Special and the "Beat of the Brass" Special are certainly GREAT shows with great visuals and music. So we are on it and just want to ensure that we can release these inexpensively with the very best sound and picture possible.
That's fantastic news, Randy. I was very young when the specials aired and was not allowed to stay up to watch them. But my Father recorded them using the tape recorder pictured in my avatar. The quality is quite good as they were recorded directly from broadcasts originating from the east coast television network centers in New York. I would be more than happy to share my recordings with you if needed.

I agree that each special contains a hidden "gem" or two, such as "California Girls", the "Bank Americard Song", and "A Taste of Honey" with a side-order of strings, not to mention a young unknown Sally Struthers dancing to Herb's music on the beach. The number of lives that have been positively influenced by Herb's work is simply amazing...

John
 

arbogast

New Member
Thanks Mike. We really wanted a fan-centric book with as much information and visuals as possible. I just received a vinyl and CD set yesterday as I had not seen the finished product. This was a very difficult project to manufacture due to so many delays and problems because of the virus. Raw materials are very hard to get and may people were ill so there were very limited hours that manufacturing facilities were open. The vinyl was pressed in the UK, we had 3 different facilities in various US cities manufacturing the case, printing the album sleeves, a real book binding company, a silk screening facility and then final assembly in San Diego before everything shipped to the distribution center in Kentucky. Lots of moving parts and sleepless nights due to deadlines and problems but the package is gorgeous and everyone really did a fantastic job.
My vinyl set arrived on Saturday and it is truly a beautiful piece of work. I'm not really a vinyl guy, but I knew I had to have the large format version to appreciate the photos, album covers, single sleeves, etc. It was an expensive investment for me, but I don't mind giving my money to Herb and Company as he certainly has invested his money in so many worthy causes.

I was lucky enough to meet Herb, Lani and Bill Cantos after a performance last year and I felt so honored to have the opportunity to thank Herb for the influence he has had on my life for more than 50 years. My 15 year old son and I enjoyed the show so much (my first time seeing Herb in concert), we let Lani and Bill know and they were so excited that they were not only able to entertain a 59 year old long time fan, but also his teenage son. All three, Herb, Lani and Bill were natural and modest, with no show business airs. That evening, the incredible show with such great music and performances, the emotional mood that came from the stage all night and the opportunity to thank and speak to Herb, Lani and Bill made for an evening that I will never forget.

Scott
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
My vinyl set arrived on Saturday and it is truly a beautiful piece of work. I'm not really a vinyl guy, but I knew I had to have the large format version to appreciate the photos, album covers, single sleeves, etc. It was an expensive investment for me, but I don't mind giving my money to Herb and Company as he certainly has invested his money in so many worthy causes.

I was lucky enough to meet Herb, Lani and Bill Cantos after a performance last year and I felt so honored to have the opportunity to thank Herb for the influence he has had on my life for more than 50 years. My 15 year old son and I enjoyed the show so much (my first time seeing Herb in concert), we let Lani and Bill know and they were so excited that they were not only able to entertain a 59 year old long time fan, but also his teenage son. All three, Herb, Lani and Bill were natural and modest, with no show business airs. That evening, the incredible show with such great music and performances, the emotional mood that came from the stage all night and the opportunity to thank and speak to Herb, Lani and Bill made for an evening that I will never forget.

Scott
Hi Scott~ Really happy to hear that you like the vinyl box. We wanted a beautiful piece of art that contained as much information as possible. However, I am really, really happy to hear that you and your son were able to see Herb & Lani in concert. They have a great band and they LOVE to perform and I know that Herbie loves answering questions from the audience. I am also glad that you were able to speak with Bill, Herb and Lani. What you see is truly what you get with them. Hussain and Mike Shapiro are the same too!
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
It wasn't actually a special it was the weekly KRAFT MUSIC HALL. which had a different host each week.
Steve is correct in that Herb and Louis were part of a KraftMusic Hall show and I believe that NBC owns the rights to those shows.
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
That's fantastic news, Randy. I was very young when the specials aired and was not allowed to stay up to watch them. But my Father recorded them using the tape recorder pictured in my avatar. The quality is quite good as they were recorded directly from broadcasts originating from the east coast television network centers in New York. I would be more than happy to share my recordings with you if needed.

I agree that each special contains a hidden "gem" or two, such as "California Girls", the "Bank Americard Song", and "A Taste of Honey" with a side-order of strings, not to mention a young unknown Sally Struthers dancing to Herb's music on the beach. The number of lives that have been positively influenced by Herb's work is simply amazing...

John
Hi John~ I am liking your old tape recorder. If I showed your photo to my 20 year old twins they wouldn't know what a tape recorder is... Recently I have listened to the "California Girls" multitrack recording and really like it. So that track along with several other songs that were never released may just be released next year. Thanks John!
 

arbogast

New Member
Randy,

Thanks for your response! And also thanks for all your work with Herb. I may be wrong, but I suspect you are something of a catalyst for him. It's incredible to believe that Herb Alpert Presents exists and we as fans have been so lucky to be able to have most of Herb's recorded audio output in well mastered editions available at the same time as well as new material, at least once a year. And then there are the shows with Herb, Lani and the guys. Amazing.

...I know that Herbie loves answering questions from the audience.
When we saw him last year, I asked during one of the times Herb invited questions if we should ever expect a biography. He responded by talking about the "Herb Alpert Is..." documentary, which was great to learn about. I still think some kind of a biography, maybe in an oral history format with friends, family and associates adding comments and anecdotes, would be a fascinating read. There are so many aspects of his career I would love to know more about. Do you think there is any chance of that?

Thanks again,
Scott
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
A&M has really never had a full (and official) documentary that I can think of. A lot of its early fortunes are of course tied to Herb's success, but so many great people came on board to steer A&M in to the 70s and 80s. Such a diverse catalog, too.
Being worked on..
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
What surprised me was, even after Carpenters established themselves as consistent hitmakers and moneymakers for the label, how many folks at A&M were rooting for them to fail. They cared about a hip image more than they did the millions of dollars coming in from one act.
I think from what I saw at A&M during the mid 70s is that people on The Lot were always rooting for the Carpenters. Karen & Richard were lovely and gracious to work with so everyone from promotion, marketing, publicity and all of us working in the recording studios loved working with K&R. Again, I must tell you that K&R were polite, hard working and very easy to work with. Many of the hipper rock acts were not so fun and enjoyable to work with. Be well and Be safe Michael!
 

badazz

Active Member
Industry Member
Randy,

Thanks for your response! And also thanks for all your work with Herb. I may be wrong, but I suspect you are something of a catalyst for him. It's incredible to believe that Herb Alpert Presents exists and we as fans have been so lucky to be able to have most of Herb's recorded audio output in well mastered editions available at the same time as well as new material, at least once a year. And then there are the shows with Herb, Lani and the guys. Amazing.



When we saw him last year, I asked during one of the times Herb invited questions if we should ever expect a biography. He responded by talking about the "Herb Alpert Is..." documentary, which was great to learn about. I still think some kind of a biography, maybe in an oral history format with friends, family and associates adding comments and anecdotes, would be a fascinating read. There are so many aspects of his career I would love to know more about. Do you think there is any chance of that?

Thanks again,
Scott
Hi Scott~ I have been asking Herb about a formal bio since 2013. Honestly, I don't think that that is ever going to happen. The documentary was a huge step for Herb and though it is not a real in depth over-view like a book would be, It is something and we have that. Herb just does not like to look back and re-live the past. He likes to look forward and be in the moment and create new things. I have been asking Herb many, many, many questions over the years and know some great stories about all kinds of things and have compiled a lot of unknown information that "may" see the light of a book one day. I think I have a pretty unique perspective in that I am family and was a part of his life before A&M and the fact that I spent 1979 & 1980 in the studio making recordings with him and now many years later I am his partner in all of these film and music things. It is a different perspective then even Jerry's or Lani's. Be well & Be safe Scott!
 

arbogast

New Member
Herb just does not like to look back and re-live the past.
Yes, I get that...and I wouldn't want it any other way. When I saw Herb and Lani and the boys perform last year, what really knocked me out was that it wasn't a nostalgia act, it was very much of the moment. The use of videos, especially the new ones, clearly expressed where Herb is at both musically and philosophically right now. Here is a couple that have no financial reason to continue to perform live and yet they do. Clearly they love to do it and clearly the audience appreciates it. I fell in love with Herb's music during the TJB days, but when you add in the A&M label work, the philanthropy, the painting and the totems and the touring as a jazz combo, you have to marvel at what a complete artist he is...and I wouldn't want it another way. If I had to choose between a biography or Herb continuing to move forward as an artist, I'll take the moving forward every time. I think if you love the man (and Lani, too), you wouldn't want it any other way.

All that said, one of my favorite parts of the new box set is Herb's notes on the individual tracks. Now if an associate or relative chose to share some stories...that would certainly be awesome.

Randy, thanks again for all you do and for stopping by here to share the news. Take care and be healthy.

Scott
 
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