Herb Alpert – Passion Dance 1997
Latin jazz purists who cynically looked at Herb Alpert‘s classic Tijuana Brass hits as synthetic fluff may find themselves blown away by the raw, live ensemble energy of Passion Dance, a hearty fiesta disc which proves once and for all that the legendary hornman is a clever jazz improviser who can blow authentic Latin sounds in frameworks beyond lightweight pop. Last year’s Jeff Lorber-produced comeback project, Second Wind, was a solid R&B-flavored effort, but featured too much of the keyboardist’s trademark riffs and not enough Alpert. Lorber co-wrote “TKO,” one of the snappiest jams here, but primarily, Alpert finds a more kinetic collaborator in bassist/keyboardist Oskar Cartaya. While most of the cuts here are all out throw downs, the two strip down to muted trumpet and bass on the simmering “Baila Conmigo” for a sly game of cat and mouse. A few tunes even find Alpert trading off between that muted Miles effect and a bright, flashy flugelhorn flavor. He also has fun conjuring up the past with Stevie Wonder‘s “Creepin’,” a new arrangement of Alpert‘s 1982 hit “Route 101,” and a few Tijuana Brass riffs here and there.
Video: Herb Alpert-Passion Dance (1997)