[20] Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass – Whipped Cream & Other Delights

23 Aug

How can you not smile on hearing those opening three notes walking up the scale, pausing, repeating, before the ultra recognizable swing of “A Touch Of Honey” begins in earnest?

Whipped Cream & Other Delights

Whipped Cream & Other Delights











Jazz and Samba and Mariachi all blended into a sound so of its time, yet still relevant today. It may evoke gameshows and elevators, but somehow this is far from disposable – there is musicianship and craft on display here, nuance amd joy.

There is a reason that these musical morsels caught the imagination of a nation in the mid-60s, and it goes beyond the food themed silliness, the model covered in whipped cream on the iconic cover – although these things all helped. The songs are still lively and energic sounding today, the product of a bunch of studio musicians enjoying themselve with no pressure, no real expectations.

Each tune is short – there are only two that even break 3 minutes – so they never outstay their welcome. They impart a mood, a theme and leave you if not exactly wanting more, at least not overfed.

There is a sense of motion throughout the album – the musicians are never still, and neither it seems is the listener.

It is impossible not to tap along, to groove to the faux south-of-the-border compositions. It is not high art, but once again I am incredibly grateful to The List for inspiring me to spend a few days in the company of these swinging horns, this odd slice of 60s Americana.

Full of bright, breezy brass, fun tempo changes and unexpected modulation, the songs here are at the same time technically impressive and endlessly engaging.

I’m still looking forward to the heavier classical recordings that are to come, but being able to fall back on this kind of frothy pop is exhilerating. I’m actually having more fun with this than with recent albums that should have been more in my wheelhouse like Dirt or At Fillmore East.

Expanding my range is what this has been about, and once more I doubt I would ever have sat down to this album were it not for Tom Moon – mine apparently being the only parents of their generation who did not have this record in their collection for me to discover as a pre-teen.

And every time I pause from my work to take a closer listen, that smile creeps back onto my face. I mean, how often do you get to hear a glockenspiel take the lead?

Owned before blogging? No. (1 of 20. 5%)
Heard before blogging? No. (3 of 20. 15%)
Recommend? Yes. (16 of 20. 80%)

Next Week: Los Amigos Invisibles – Arepa 3000: A Venezuelan Journey Into Space


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