Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 11:03:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Nils Ek <>
Subject: Herb Alpert (was Re: Simeon Christoff)

Michael Anderson wrote:
> Carmine Caruso was Herb Alperts main teacher... that's a pretty good
> resume item. :-)

Lately on TPIN there have been oblique (and otherwise) references to Herb Alpert insinuating that he is really not a trumpeter's hero or role model, or something along those lines. The "Kenny G" of the trumpet, if you'll excuse my impertinence.

There has also been some discussion of how, in the case of Mr. Christoff, one might be better off viewing him with some guarded sympathy, as a talented individual whose gifts haven't been recognized by those people he most desires to impress: probably North Americans.

<ASIDE> One wouldn't be surprised, based upon his background. Coming through the Bulgarian school system in the 50's would have equipped him with a healthy dose of anti-Americanism and anti-imperialism (ie. for the Brits). Then the Liege Conservatoire. My *impression* of that place is that they would view themselves with a rather superior air, and this would be passed on to their students, but I could be wrong and I welcome correction in this regard from anyone with personal knowledge. Then a few pompose jackasses in schools in the land of Oz display their ignorance,
and Christoff can't stand it and begins to rant. </ASIDE>

Now on to Herb Alpert. "His <music> is tacky, cheesy, unimaginative, lacks depth, shouldn't be played except to extract confessions of guilt from child-molesters, terrorists, and oboists. It is an affront to serious students and practitioners of the most noble of instruments".


But now *I* have a confession to make. My name is Nils and when I was very young, I listened to Herb Alpert's playing and enjoyed it. When I was a boy, his trumpet could be heard on the radio every day. One couldn't escape "Tijuana Taxi" or "Spanish Fly", my buddies and I could all whistle them, some of my friends' older syblings even had single 45's of them.

Yes, I recall that in my childish mind, devoid of bias, sophistication, or good taste, I really *liked* his music. More significantly, it sparked an early interest in the trumpet, several years before I excitedly first held one in my shaking, sweaty little hands. That small flame was later fanned into a blazing passion for the instrument, after exposure to the music of Maynard Ferguson, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Terry Clarke, M André, and other giants. But I have to confess, I give Alpert credit for sowing the seeds, he was the first inspiration of at least *one* naïve kid to choose the trumpet when he entered the school band. That kid has since grown up and developed more complex, possibly more mature musical tastes.  He still loves the trumpet, but he no longer listens to Herb Alpert; however, on those rare occasions when some daring DJ, flaunting musical conformity, dusts off an old LP of "Spanish Fly", the little boy in him secretly feels his heart skip a beat, bringing back sketchy memories of an innocent, guileless age.

Nils Ek
DORVAL, Québec H9P 1J3