Herb Alpert and Lani Hall: A Unique Canadian Tour
On June 19, trumpeter Herb Alpert and singer Lani Hall converged on Montreal to present its single concert on Canadian soil. All the action took place in an ancient hall at the Rialto Theatre, located on the city’s Plateau. In addition to Herb and Lani, the performance featured pianist Bill Cantos, bass player Hussain Jiffry, and percussionist Michael Shapiro.
Approximately more than 100 people went to see Alpert and his band play. The concert featured popular works such as Consuelo Velásquez’s “Bésame mucho” and Édith Piaf’s “La vie en rose,” while making trips down Tin Pan Alley with favourites such as Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” The show wouldn’t have been complete without a taste of Brazilian samba! We listened to Antônio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba” as well as miscellaneous works by Sergio Mendes & Brazil ’66.
Alpert’s many improvisations made this concert entertaining. He either started a selection with improvised melodies or played a song before breaking into improvisation. While Alpert was playing, Cantos, Jiffry, and Shapiro filled trumpet melodies with beautiful harmonies. Towards the end of the show, we were greeted with a lengthy put impressive drum improvisation in Porter’s “Night and Day.” Chapeau, Shapiro!
Another component that aroused interest during the show was the several contrasts between fast and energetic as well as slow, relaxed rhythms. And to ensure the audience was part of the show, Alpert asked everyone to sing along while playing Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “This Guy’s in Love with You.”
Overall, it was a pleasure hearing Alpert play. He and his instrumentalists performed with excellent calibre throughout. Lani’s soft, melodious voice blended well with the back vocals; she also sang each selection with conviction. Unlike some performances featuring only number-one hits, Alpert’s concert contained a mix of known and lesser-known repertoire.
It’s unfortunate that Alpert and his band won’t give concerts elsewhere across Canada. Other Canadian audiences would have surely wanted to see a quality performance. However, if you’re planning to travel any time this summer or in the early fall, you can catch a glimpse of Alpert in California, Japan, Arizona, Texas, and Minnesota.
His latest CD In the Mood can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.