In a music world where more often than not, greed takes precedent, million dollar recording artist, co – founder of A &M Records and philanthropist Herb Alpert is a rarity.

Herb Alpert and partner Lani Hall created the Herb Alpert Foundation in 1985. Over thirty years and more than $200 million dollars later, Herb Alpert continues his work.

“Instead of buying a Van Gogh or Monet and putting it on the wall for my own gratification – I wanted to do something good for artists;” Herb said in a recent interview. “I started the foundation with the concept ‘If I can do it – you can do it’.

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts (HAAIA) has been awarded to 164 artists. Each award includes a $75,000 unrestricted prize and residency at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) which administers the prize on behalf of the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Some of the 164 artists who have been awarded a $75,000 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts prize

Some of the 164 artists who have been awarded a $75,000 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts prize

Herb Alpert (Tijuana Brass) has sold 72 million records worldwide, earned a Tony Award, eight Grammy Awards, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Twenty – eight albums landed on Billboard Top 100 and Herb is the only artist to hit the top 100 as a vocalist (‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ 1968) and instrumentalist (‘Rise ‘1979).

Alpert’s 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights proved so popular — it was the number one album of 1966, outselling The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra.

“I have been very fortunate;”explains Herb. “I was an introvert and the sound that the trumpet was making was talking for me, it was saying the things I could not get out of my mouth. It has been my friend every since.”

Like most friends – there was a brief time when Herb’s Trumpet ‘relationship’ was in peril.

“I was going through a divorce and I was having trouble playing the way I wanted to. I was stuttering through the instrument. I flew to New York to take lessons from a man named Carmine Caruso – a teacher who was known as a ‘troubleshooter’. I asked him if I should change my mouthpiece or if the trumpet is the problem. He said ‘Kid – you are the instrument. The trumpet is an extension of you – it’s an amplifier’.”

Those words were passed along to the artists Herb Alpert (partner Jerry Moss) signed when they founded A&M Records. (The Police, Gino Vannelli and Cat Stevens etc). Herb also signed a duo that was not showing signs of success.

“I signed The Carpenters and the people in my company started to question me. They thought they were ‘too cute’ – they were not doing well in sales. Then we released a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David – Close To You, and their career skyrocketed – so you just never know.”

At the age of 88, Herb Alpert shows no signs of slowing down. Jagger and McCartney are younger so once again – Alpert is leading the charge and is doing it ‘his way.’

May 18th Place Des Arts. Tickets at Evenko.ca

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