Timeless best describes the multi-sensorial melodies, moods and rhythms of Herb Alpert and his Grammy award-winning vocalist, life partner Lani Hall. Their September 16 concert at The Vic Theater will celebrate the previous day’s release of Alpert’s forty-ninth studio album, “Wish Upon A Star,” with tunes made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis, Cat Stevens, The Beatles, Elvis and The Carpenters.
Earlier in his career, Herb Alpert co-founded A&M Records with the vision of establishing an artist-friendly label. He thrust trumpet back on the map as a virtuosic instrument with the 1962 hit, “The Lonely Bull,” with the mariachi-influenced Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. “A Taste of Honey” from the 1965 album “Whipped Cream & Other Delights” ran away with a Grammy for Record of the Year. More recently, the triumphant “Rise,” the title track of Alpert’s award-winning 1979 album, was revived for the soundtrack of the 2022 Netflix production “Spiderhead.”
Alpert has had four albums in the top-ten charts; an honor only echoed by singing sensation Taylor Swift, whom the triple-threat Alpert congratulated via video.
Hall’s “Seasons of Love” commemorates her long-lasting marriage of forty-nine years. Regarding that title track, Hall says, “I love the beautiful message and I love how this song breaks down life in increments.”
The artist came to fame as the electrifying, multilingual lead of Brazil ’66, led by keyboardist bandleader Sérgio Mendes. A quick study, she mastered Portuguese by virtue of silky to pumped-up ballads, such as “Mas que Nada” and “Chega de Saudade,” while introducing Brazilian music to a generation of culture-curious fans. She also sang American songbook standards and Beatles classics, such as “Fool on the Hill” and “Day Tripper.” In 1986, she garnered a Grammy for “Es Fácil Amar” as Best Latin Pop Performance.
The mid-September concert features a dedicated trio: pianist Bill Cantos, bassist Hussain Jiffry and drummer Tiki Pasillas. Cantos has collaborated in the studio and onstage with Alpert and Hall since 2008. He has contributed to six studio albums, including the acclaimed “Steppin’ Out.”
Jiffry performed with Mendes from 1996 to 2014. In 2014, the native Sri Lankan won a Grammy for engineering “Steppin’ Out” in the Best Pop Instrumental Album of the Year category.
Pasillas won the Latin Stylist Award from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. He’s performed with an A-list of Latin music impresarios, including bandleader Tito Puente, vocalist Celia Cruz and guitarist Carlos Santana, as well as Destiny’s Child.
Alpert and Hall recently toured Canada and sold out London’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s but are anxious to return to the heartland, where they’ve established steadfast connections. Hall was raised in multiethnic Albany Park on the Northwest Side. It was at the now-defunct Mother Blues in Old Town that Mendes originally heard the then-teen’s crystalline voice. Serendipitously, Mendes was establishing the Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 project with the hopes of securing an American vocalist, as Brasil ’65 was disbanding.
Alpert, who also paints and sculpts, has a permanent exhibit at the Field Museum. With an eye toward inclusive artistic endeavor, The Herb Alpert Foundation remodeled the Harlem School of the Arts, one of their many philanthropic projects. In that case, Alpert dove into action after reading a news article about the organization’s impending closure. During the last couple of years, the charity has supplied emergency money to support ambitious, underfunded artists.
Besides material from Alpert and Hall’s vast collection, the ninety-minute concert includes a Q & A with the audience, plus videos, memorabilia and a massive display of archival images on a state-of-the-art screen.
Herb Alpert and Lani Hall perform at The Vic Theater, 3145 North Sheffield on Saturday, September 16; doors open at 6:30pm, show at 7:30pm. Tickets $45-$170 here.