Herb Alpert – Style Weekly: Twilight Delight

Style Weekly: Twilight Delight

May 23, 2024

Trumpeter Herb Alpert built a musical legacy based on pleasantly jazzy instrumental music, and a business legend as one of the great recording executives and entrepreneurs of the 20th century. It is in the former capacity that he appears this Thursday, May 16 at the National. At 89-years-old, Alpert is an unusual match for the venue’s demographic. But it is a more intimate space to see the man whose records briefly outsold the Beatles, Sinatra, and the Stones. The tour, and his new record “Wish Upon a Star,” are a twilight victory lap. He’s definitely earned it, even if he won the race more than a half-century ago.

Alpert’s trumpet sound is immediately identifiable on “Eastbound and Down,” the country music opener of “Wish Upon a Star.” The song is cheerfully forgettable; the rhythm guitar might as well be a loop as Alpert and a pedal steel guitar weave melodically through. The most memorable part is a brief, stunningly on-the-nose police siren, making explicit the connection to the song’s origin in the 1977 movie, “Smokey and The Bandit.” It is both promise and fair warning for what follows, an expertly-crafted reimagining of retro, lightly jazzy, easy listening pop music.