Spotlight: UNDER A SPANISH MOON (SP-5209)

Discussion in 'The Beat of The Brass: Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass' started by Captain Bacardi, Dec 6, 2008.

What Is Your Favorite Song On This Album?

  1. Fragile

    5 vote(s)
  2. Rumba Flamenca

    2 vote(s)
  3. Lamento

    1 vote(s)
  4. Pachanga

    3 vote(s)
  5. Ancient Source

    2 vote(s)
  6. I Need You

    7 vote(s)
  7. My Song

    3 vote(s)
  8. Zamba (Para La Niña Yolanda)

    0 vote(s)
  9. Hidden Angel

    0 vote(s)
  1. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    Herb Alpert

    A&M SP-5209

    Released 1988

    Format: Vinyl/Cassette/CD

    Produced by Herb Alpert
    Associate Producer: Eduardo Del Barrio
    Associate Producer on "The Suite": Jorgé Del Barrio

    • 1. Fragile (Sting) - 2:59
      Under A Spanish Moon - A Suite In Three Movements For Trumpet And Orchestra (Written and Conducted by Jorgé Del Barrio)[list:ce28293847]2. Rumba Flamenca - 2:54
      3. Lamento - 4:12
      4. Pachanga - 3:03
    5. Ancient Source (Eduardo Del Barrio) - 4:48
    6. I Need You (Herb Alpert/Eduardo Del Barrio) - 4:09
    7. My Song (Keith Jarrett) - 3:56
    8. Zamba (Para La Niña Yolanda) (Eduardo Del Barrio) - 4:37
    9. Hidden Angel (Herb Alpert/Eduardo Del Barrio) - 3:38

    "The Suite" Programmed by Laytham Armor

    All songs except "The Suite" Arranged and Orchestrated by Eduardo Del Barrio and Herb Alpert[/list:u:ce28293847]

    Herb Alpert - Flugelhorn and All Trumpets
    Eduardo Del Barrio - Keyboards
    Alex Acuña - Drums and Percussion
    Jorgé Del Barrio - Acoustic Piano and Rhodes (2, 3, 4), String Arrangements (7, 8 )
    Abraham Laboriel - Bass and Acoustic Guitar, Bass Solo (7)
    Lani Hall Alpert - Vocals (5)
    Dann Huff - Electric and Acoustic Guitar
    Michael Landau - Electric Guitar
    Sal Macaluso - Acoustic Piano (7)
    Ralph Humphrey - Drums
    Steve Schaeffer - Drums
    Ramon Stagnaro - Acoustic Guitar (8 )
    Steve Tavalione - EWI and Soprano Sax

    Strings of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra
    Concertmaster: Endré Granate

    Engineers: Mark McKenna, Robert De La Garza, Marc De Sisto
    Rob Jacobs, Eddie De Leña
    Assistant Engineers: Greg Goldman, Bob Vogt, Claude Achille, Brian Scheuble
    Remix Engineer: Bill Bottrell

    Art Direction: Chuck Beeson
    Design: Donald Krieger
    Photography: Anton Corbun

    My sincere thanks to everyone whose name appears on this album, and especially Jorgé Del Barrio whose incredible composition has me thinking about possibilities yet to come.

    To my wife Lani - whose voice, spirit, tenderness and loving wisdom shines on me...I love you.

    Capt. Bacardi
  2. Mike

    Mike Active Member

    This is not an album I play very often. However, when I do give it a listen I most enjoy track number 7, My Song. It's a very relaxing easy-going number. This song could easily fit in on the Midnight Sun CD; which is a favorite of mine.

  3. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    This one's easy. Well, pretty easy. I really like "Fragile" a lot, and "Ancient Source" because of the Lani Hall vocals. But I think Fragile would get the nod. The rest, I don't really even remember so it must not have made an impression on me I guess. Should listen to it again....gotta add it to my ever growing list!
  4. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    Chet Atkins also had a good version of "My Song" on his 1987 album SAILS. Pretty much the same arrangement, except for the feature of guitar instead of trumpet.

    As for UNDER A SPANISH MOON, I think I speak for a lot of serious Herb Alpert fans when I say "Wow! What a breath of fresh air!" After the previous three R&B/Pop/Funk albums, it was a welcome change to hear Herb once again (after six years!) do something Latin-oriented, even if this was charting new ground orchestrally. UNDER A SPANISH MOON, a 180-degree opposite turn from KEEP YOUR EYE ON ME, demonstrates conclusively, and succinctly, the very broad spectrum of Herb's versatile trumpet.

    Covering Sting's "Fragile", he eases the listener into this jazzy setting for the three minute opener. Next comes the suite. I remember the first time I heard it. I never got into the whole orchestral arena like my brother did, but this opened a new door for me. And once again, Herb masters it. "Rumba Flamenca" is like nothing I've ever heard before or since. And definitely an excitingly different track for Herb. This is why I picked it as my favorite track, even moreso than "I Need You". "Pachanga" is nearly as good, and lilts the mood for the close of the suite. I have to admit, though, that I still don't care for the "Lamento" movement. It meanders, and the muted trumpet just does not impress me at all. I respect the talent, but I almost always skip over this one, the dud on this album, IMHO.

    Other than "Lamento" however, every track on this album deserves the utmost attention. A superb album, :thumbsup: 4 stars.

    Bobberman likes this.
  5. I recently discovered the music of Keith Jarrett's European quartet. One of their most famous albums is My Song. Because I don't listen to much of Herb's later work, it was a shock to see that Herb recorded this tune.
  6. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Gentlemanly Curmudgeon Moderator

    I know some of you will want to smack me upside the head, but I picked "Pachanga" and did so only because we have an Indian Gaming Casino down in San Diego with that name. Like Yokosuka Mike, this is one Herb disc I rarely play (one of the five* Herb discs I actually could live without).

    --Mr. Bill

    * Under A Spanish Moon, My Abstract Heart, Wild Romance, Midnight Sun and Second Wind, in case you're curious...
    Steven J. Gross likes this.
  7. Nathan Strum

    Nathan Strum Active Member

    I agree 100%.

    "Under A Spanish Moon" is one of my favorite Herb Alpert albums, and it's gotten a lot of play over the years. I was so relieved that Herb was "back" when this album came out.

    I'd pick "Fragile" as my favorite track. I hadn't even heard Sting's version of it until after hearing Herb's. It's such perfect song for his playing style, it could have been written specifically for him. It's a beautiful song, and an amazing performance.

    The "Under A Spanish Moon" suite is hard for me to separate out as different tracks, since I always listen to them as a whole piece. I would have loved to have heard this played live with an orchestra. Great playing by Herb, and even though Herb may not be seen as a "power" player in the traditional sense, when he cuts loose, it's just as exciting in his own way as anything Maynard (my other favorite player) could dish out. He shows an amazing range of playing and expressiveness in these three pieces. Powerful, somber, playful, joyful. Incredible.

    "Ancient Source" is a great blend between Herb's playing and Lani's voice. It's perfectly suited to the both of them.

    The sequencing on the album is really exceptional. The songs have a nice flow between them, and the whole thing almost feels like an extension of the main suite. "Hidden Angel" is a great ending to the album. It's almost wistful at times - as if sad that the album is coming to an end. Yet there are sparks of joy in there, reminding the listener that it's not really the end - they can always come back again, and listen to the whole thing over again. (Okay that may be over-thinking things a little bit. But that's the emotion I get out of it.)

    There's not really a track on this album I don't like. It's got a very cohesive feel to it, the most of any album since Fandango. This album returned the joy I felt of listening to a new Herb Alpert album.
    Bobberman likes this.
  8. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    The nice thing about owning your own record company is that you can make albums such as this one. After the success of Keep Your Eye On Me most artists would've tried to duplicate the same success. Not Herb, and this is one of the reasons I've admired his work over the years. Spanish Moon certainly wasn't a commercial success, but it's a ballsy move on Herb's part.

    Picking out a favorite tune is tough here. I eventually decided on "Pachanga", although the entire "Suite" is stunning IMHO. I have to listen to all three songs to get the full effect. I actually loved "Lamento" as well. I think it's a perfect bridge between "Rumba" and "Pachanga". I like how Herb changed up the bridge a bit on Sting's "Fragile". "I Need You" is another nice piece. The last two songs - "Zamba" and "Hidden Angel" I didn't care for at all. They just didn't do anything for me.

    As for "Ancient Source": I first heard this song on Eddie Del Barrio's first band's album. He was in Caldera in the 70's, and on their Sky Island album "Ancient Source" first appeared, with Dianne Reeves on vocals. I prefer Caldera's version over Herb's. But it's a close call.

    One other note: "I Need You" was released on a 45 in a stripped down version, and on the 'B' side was "The Lady In My Life", which is a really good tune. It was also released as a CD3 single in Japan. Of course, Herb later did a different version of that song on the Colors album.

    Capt. Bacardi
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  9. toeknee4bz

    toeknee4bz Well-Known Member

    Two questions, if you don't mind:
    1) What is a "CD3" single? Is this just a CD single w/ 3 versions of the same song, or three separate songs?
    2) Would you happen to know the catalogue number of the SPANISH MOON version of "The Lady In My Life"? (I've got to track this one down, as the COLORS version is intoxicating!!!)

  10. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    CD3's are small 3" CDs. They were used for a while as "singles" much the way that smaller 7" vinyl was compared to 12" albums. Most CD player drawers to this day still have an indent to hold 3" CDs. The only place that you'll have trouble playing them is in a car "slide-in"-type player. They were more popular in Japan than here, this the fact that Japan issued the single in question.

    "I Need You" with "The Lady In My Life" is on A&M single # AM-1231. Be careful though as there are many promo singles out there with the "I Need You (Remix)" in stereo on both sides. These would have the white labels.

    The stock single has A&M's black label of the day and "The Lady In My Life" on side B.

  11. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    I picked "Ancient Source" as my favorite, but "Fragile" is a close second and I really like the whole "suite" thing.

    I liked this whole album the moment I heard it as once again Herb took me to unexpected places.

    I've never run across this one in vinyl and have only had the CD version since it came out. Later I came across the promotional CD version which was housed in a denim-covered digipak with its booklet attached to the inside cover (with an extra page in the conterfold of Herb lounging in a chair with his trumpet on his chest). The promotional disc even has an alternate catalog number printed on its face: CD 17593/DX 003613.

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  12. Captain Bacardi

    Captain Bacardi Well-Known Member Moderator Thread Starter

    I also found the denim-covered version of the CD a few years ago. At least that cover should last a while.

    Capt. Bacardi
  13. ritzedup

    ritzedup New Member

    So am I to understand there is a difference in the "I Need You" tracks between the 7" release and the 7" promo release? I have the 7" promo release...and that version sounds pretty much like the ones on both the album and 12" single.
  14. I just recently found this album and have to agree with the enthusiastic comments. It's one of my favourite post-TJB albums because it is adventurous and makes fewer concessions to commercial tastes. With the Under A Spanish Moon suite, it's great to hear Herb Alpert trying to get close to some of the ambitious things he heard his hero Miles doing. The Rumba Flamenca is an intriguing piece of music, and My Song provides a breezy counterpoint to the more challenging listening.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  15. LPJim

    LPJim Well-Known Member Moderator

    This is the next AOTW by SP #. Since it's discussed here will move forward.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  16. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    This is one of the few titles not to make it to the Herb Alpert Presents series.

    Don't know if you're still around after nearly a decade, but I'll try to answer your question. The "I Need You" remix is a subtle one. Early on, as the track is winding up, the album version has a heavier, driving drumbeat that was removed or buried for the single remix. This occurs between the 20-second and 40-second marks in the song. The remix comes up a few seconds shorter overall with a quicker fade and an ever-so-slight speed-up.

    Since this thread was active, I've located the CD version of the remix single pressed in W. Germany. It also contains the fairly rare "The Lady In My Life" b-side, the 12" mix of "I Need You", and the album version. (390 358-2).
  17. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    In looking through my 12" singles, I noticed that the "I Need You" 12"-er (SP-17603) has a track on it that's not on the CD single. It's another remix of "I Need You" with the subtitle of "Latest Body With Echo". This one's about the same length as the standard track but it has some subtle differences, including a little extra Tijuana-Brass-style trumpet harmony at the 2:18 mark.
  18. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

    Since this thread is open i finally want to chime in on this I bought the CD version in August of 1988 with money I received as a birthday gift it was one of my very first CDs I ever bought and I still have it and it still plays in pristine condition I voted for "My Song" as a favorite Herb just has a great way with Covering other artists songs and Gives it his own touch I also like "Fragile" ( I Think Sting Would have been Proud) i enjoy all of it even though it wasn't the big album That "Keep your Eye On Me" Was yet the Suite Was Quite an Adventure to listen to there is still plenty to enjoy on this 1988 classic
  19. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    I don't recall replying here...but anyway, it was a tough call between "Fragile" and "I Need You," and I went with the latter.

    As mentioned above, Caldera was the not-so-ancient source for "Ancient Source." Here's the original version:

    The tour for this album was the last time I saw Herb in concert prior to 2009. He used pick-up orchestras on this tour, and since it was close to the 4th of July, the show concluded with fireworks.
  20. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

    Back in 2008, I hadn't ever seen this album in vinyl, but have found it in the intervening years. It's spinning as I type this. Nice and warm - translucent vinyl like other A&M's of the period.

    Also, custom labels!


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  21. Rudy

    Rudy ᕦ(ò_óˇ)ᕤ Site Admin

    I found a used one a few years ago but it is too worn. I need to find another.

    The boss's records seemed to get the KC-600 vinyl quite often. :wink:
  22. Mike Blakesley

    Mike Blakesley Well-Known Member Moderator

    I do wish this would come out on HAP. I've got the vinyl, but it's not in super shape.
    toeknee4bz likes this.
  23. jazzdre

    jazzdre Active Member

    I really, really like this album, and like toeknee and Nathan said Herb was back and it WAS a breath of fresh air to hear Herb record serious ,creative music instead of the pap of Keep Your Eye On Me,and Wild Romance. I always felt that this was Herb's "Sketches Of Spain"moment where the Del Barrio bros were playing Gil Evans to Herb's Miles. I really liked "Fragile" but after hearing the original by Sting, I felt like this was like a "serious" Tijuana Brass number. I felt that Herb took away the power of the original, and decided to economize the tune to probably get radio airplay of something like that.(by the way, did you all know that Sting wrote "Fragile" for Herb to record? Yes, it's true!) Don't get me wrong-I like Herb's version, but compared to the original-close but no cigar.

    As for the Suite: this is really where Herb shines and it's small wonder that he leaned on Eddie Del Barrio as his future collaborater; a collaboration that continues to this day.The suite's opening number "Rumba Flamenca" is very dramatic, also at once sprightly, and also very cinematic."Lamento" is very dramatic and haunting, and Abe Laboriel's bass playing here reminds me very much of the late,brilliant(and ill fated) Jaco Pastorius."Pachanga" is a great closing out number, again like a very orchestrated Tijuana Brass tune. It also sounds like an unused, leftover tune from Fandango."Ancient Source" has gorgeous singing by Lani, but the tune itself is kind of a bit strange to me. The little spoken word bit by both Herb and Lani("look into yourself,caress what you feel") was a bit weird.

    The second side was good as well."I Need You" was a typical late 80s jazz/funk tune, but at the same time unusual, because instead of relying totally on synths, there were also real instruments playing behind Herb.Mid to late 80s contemporary jazz relied a LOT of synths, and this type of sound opened the door to what we now know as smooth jazz.Like everybody else, I was surprised when Herb recorded a tune by the legendary Keith Jarrett.Their approaches seems worlds apart-Herb more on the commercial yet artistic, while Keith more emphasis on the traditional, yet at the same time artistic. However, when I found out how popular "My Song" was;with even Peter Nero recording it, and a host of other musicians in the field of easy listening as well as jazz, then it didn't surprise me anymore. Herb's take on it was very beautiful and gentle and also very relaxing. I really loved "Zamba" with its quiet beginning, then with its orchestral bombast, then latin guitar interlude, and also latin percussion.In my mind, I saw flamenco dancers in Spain dancing to this. "Hidden Angel" was again somewhat typical late 80s pop jazz, this time with more heavy emphasis on synths than "I Need You". Also kind of haunting.

    All in all, a great album by an artist who continually surprises his audience. My only complaint about the suite itself:Too Short! I wanted to hear more!

    Til Next Time,
    Take Care!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  24. Harry

    Harry Charter A&M Corner Member Moderator

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  25. Bobberman

    Bobberman Well-Known Member

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