Jazz musician, sometimes classified as easy listening, with a succesful and continuous career writing, recording, and, producing music since the 1960's.
Born in Los Angeles on March 31, 1935 to a Russian immigrant father and Hungarian mother, Herb Alpert began trumpet at the age of 8, with a head full of Harry James and Miles Davis tunes and every intention to become a professional Jazz musician. He received his first pay for his music as a trumpeter in the 6th Army Band at the Presidio in San Francisco, where he played for 2 years. After his discharge, he moved to Hollywood, and instead of trying to scratch out a living as a musician alone, decided to use acting as a stepping stone. You can hear his drumming in the movie, The Ten Commandments, and his trumpet-playing in Love Me or Leave Me and Say One For Me.
Still, Alpert was relatively unsuccesful in the movies, and turned instead to a job as a song-writer for RCA, recording some songs under the name Dore Alpert, and writing for Lou Adler and Sam Cooke (including the song Wonderful World). In 1962, he recorded the song The Lonely Bull in what he called the Amerachi style, and soon had formed a crack-squad of brass musicians he called the Tijuana Brass: Tonni Kalash, Bob Edmonds, Lou Pagani, John Pisano, Pat Senatore, and Nick Ceroli. Other hits followed: Tijuana Taxi, Spanish Flea, and Whipped Cream, from the 1965 album Whipped Cream and Other Delights. He followed with hits like Zorba the Greek, and a rare vocal on Burt Bacharach's This Guy's In Love With You in 1968.
In 1965, he joined up with Jerry Moss, one of the lead record producers in the United States, to form A&M Records, destined to become one of the most successful independant labels. He not only pushed his own music, but signed his top easy-listening competitors. The label would later record the Carpenters, Joe Cocker, and even Cat Stevens. He continued the studio until 1990, when he finally sold it to Polygram for over $500 million.
He stopped recording for a brief period in the early 1970's, dissolving the Tijuana Band (most of whom continued in their own, solo careers). Instead, he focused on his work as a producer. In the early 1990's, he even began producing a few shows on Broadway, including Angels in America and Jelly's Last Jam.
In 1996, he released his first album in years, the jazz hit-album, Second Wind, followed the next year by Passion Dance, and Colors in 1998.
Herb Alpert finally sold his last corporation, the Rondor music-publishing company, to Universal Group, in 2000 for an estimated $400 million. He now lives in Los Angeles, and aside from the occasional independent project, focuses on a charitable organization he founded to support educational, artistic, and environmental programs for children.