Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

Lonely Bull [Deluxe Edition] [Remastered]

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Review

The colossus that is AM Records starts right here with the first album by the 1960s instrumental juggernaut known as the Tijuana Brass. True, there was no "Tijuana Brass" per se at this time; just Herb Alpert and a coterie of Los Angeles sessionmen, with Alpert overdubbing himself on trumpet to get that bullring effect. Also, Alpert was just getting the TJB concept underway; the textures are leaner, the productions less polished, and the accent is more consciously on a Mexican mariachi ambience -- the relatively square rhythms, the mandolins, the mournful, wistful siesta feeling -- than the records down the road. The hit title track (originally a tune called "Twinkle Star"!) is a cleverly structured, exciting and haunting piece of record-making -- and its composer, Sol Lake, becomes the charter member of Alpert's team of TJB tunesmiths with several more ethnic-flavored numbers. In accordance with the newly emerging bossa nova movement, Alpert does a nice, straightforward, authentic cover of "Desafinado," even departing a bit from the tune with some spare jazz-inspired licks, and "Crawfish" pleasingly adapts the mariachi horn sound to a bossa beat. [In 2005, Shout! Factory reissued The Lonely Bull as part of their Herb Alpert Signature Series, featuring remastered sound, a deluxe digipack, and new liner notes from Josh Kun.] ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi