Herb Alpert & Lani Hall – Hot n’ Cool

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By: Sandi Durell

This duo has been married forty-one years and making music together even longer. They’re musical icons of jazz, pop and Latin rhythms. Herb Alpert has won nine Grammy Awards and has the honor of being known as a ‘trumpet legend’ – founding A&M Records with Jerry Moss (the largest independent record company in the world). And what about those Tijuana Brass days still so current!

Grammy Award singer Lani Hall made her mark as lead singer of Sergio Mendes’ Brasil ’66. It was love at first sight, as Herb describes, when he heard her in the studio, signing the group to his record label. The rest is history, part of which is the explosive blasts from the past music (many of us grew up with) that filled the historic Café Carlyle last night March 10th.

They’ve reinvented their iconic songs with new interpretations – Herb, as always, swingin’, giving new meaning to improv but sticking closely to the charts on a TJB medley.

Lani is a deliciously joyful singer, smooth as silk with tunes from the Brasil ’66 days (This Guy’s in Love With You, The Look of Love, So Many Stars, The Fool on the Hill) and others in Spanish. You’ll thrill to a Jobim medley and some new versions of great American Songbook tunes.

They’re a most adorable, loving couple on stage; gracious and real as they welcome the audience into their world with little chats and participation – like being in their living room.

I visually pictured Fred Astaire dancing to their interpretation of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” – just one of the highlights of the evening – there are so many.

When Herb isn’t making music, he’s painting and sculpting – there’s a current exhibit of his sculptures at ACA Gallery downtown.

Lani has been busy with the release of her book, now in audio, “Emotional Memoirs and Short Stories.” In fact, I had the pleasure of interviewing her about the book and you can find that right here at: http://www.theaterpizzazz.com/lani-hall-talks-emotional-memoirs/

They’re hot all right and so is the band who have been with them for the past eight years: Bill Cantos, piano; Hussain Jiffry, bass; Michael Shapiro, drums. This is one cool group!

The audience was filled with celebrity friends and fans including Michael Feinstein and Terrence Flannery, Rita Cosby, Tamara Tunie, Tony LoBianco, Bill Boggs and more.

Appearing at Café Carlyle thru March 21st – 35 East 76 St. at Madison Ave. 212 744-1600

Photos/video: Sandi Durell

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