CARMEN

Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

A&M 890, 1968
Billboard: #51

Many suites have been derived from Bizet's opera Carmen, from the sublime to the, um, less sublime, but few of them will fit into three minutes and thirty-nine seconds. The last track on the Herb Alpert's Ninth LP (A&M SP-134/SP-4134), "Carmen" features a dazzling arrangement by Alpert with Peter Matz that, while it incorporates many of Bizet's themes, focuses on the "Habañera" and infuses it with the sound of previous TJB hits: at some point, you'll be reminded of "What Now My Love", "Spanish Flea", and "Zorba the Greek", and if you still haven't caught on, the last note is a blat from the horn of the fabled "Tijuana Taxi". It was all rollicking good fun, and maybe perhaps too much fun; somehow "Carmen", despite its not-that-shabby chart performance (and the LP made it to #4!), never managed to get included in a TJB Greatest Hits compilation.

Where can I get this on CD?
Herb Alpert's Ninth finally came out on CD on Alpert's Shout Factory label (33466) in 2005; as of mid-2006, "Carmen" was available on iTunes.


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