VERSED: The ASCAP Podcast / Ep. 18 - Herb Alpert
November 13, 2020
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VERSED is a bi-weekly podcast illuminating the heart and soul of music. Featuring in-depth interviews with songwriters and composers, plus tips and insights to help you navigate your music career. Brought to you by ASCAP, home of the world's greatest music creators.
Music legend Herb Alpert has sold over 72 million records, earned nine Grammys, co-founded one of the most successful independent music labels in history, and was just named Philanthropist of the Year by the LA Business Journal for his significant support of educational programs in the arts nationwide. Alpert talks to VERSED about his decades-long career, a new documentary Herb Alpert Is... about his life and work, and the lessons he’s learned throughout his incredible journey. ALSO: jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist Camille Thurman shares valuable tips on staying inspired and focused during the pandemic; then music biz vet Benjamin Groff offers some Sound Advice on finding and developing your identity as an artist.
+Are you a jazz composer under the age of 30? Submit a new, original work for The ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Awards, an honor granted annually to encourage talented jazz composers during the earliest stages of their careers. Winning composers will receive a monetary prize. The deadline is December 15, 2020.
+Benjamin Groff’s first book, How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself! is available for free at www.benjamingroff.com. And check out his Teachable courses on songwriting and marketing - VERSED listeners get 20% off, with code BENJAMIN20.
EP. 18 FEATURED INTERVIEW: HERB ALPERT
One of the most accomplished artists in the music industry, Herb Alpert has sold over 72 million records, earned 15 gold and 14 platinum records, won nine Grammys between 1966 and 2014 and received the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in 2012. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass propelled his sound into the pop music limelight, at one point outselling the Beatles two to one. In 1966, they achieved the since-unmatched feat of simultaneously having four albums in the Top 10 – and five in the Top 20. Herb Alpert also has the distinction of being the only artist who has had a #1 instrumental and vocal single.
In 1962 Herb co-founded the indie label, A&M Records (with Jerry Moss) which recorded artists as varied as Carole King, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Janet Jackson, Peter Frampton, Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, and The Police. A&M would go on to become one of the most successful independent labels in history. Less known is his striking work as an abstract painter and sculptor. Mostly below-the-radar is his significant philanthropic support of educational programs in the arts nationwide, from the Harlem School of the Arts and Los Angeles City College to CalArts and UCLA.
Alpert’s 2019 album, Over the Rainbow, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Jazz and Contemporary Jazz album charts. His new career-spanning box set Herb Alpert Is… is now available in LP format featuring a coffee-table book and a five-piece 180-gram vinyl set, and as a three-CD set. Both formats feature 63 songs spanning five decades of Alpert’s career, 180 pages of vintage photos, liner notes and an essay from respected music journalist Bud Scoppa.
The new film Herb Alpert Is… celebrates the life and work of Herb Alpert and the impact he has had on American culture. Filmmaker John Scheinfeld’s (Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, The US vs John Lennon) documentary is a passionate and inspiring exploration of Alpert’s personal and creative journey that reveals the critical events, experiences and challenges that have shaped an extraordinary life and instilled deep within the Grammy-winning trumpeter the desire to make a difference each and every day. Colleagues ranging from Questlove to Sting to Bill Moyers bring their unique voices and perspectives to telling this remarkable story.
+Want to watch Herb Alpert Is… and support music education in the process! Visit www.ascap.com/herbalpertdoc to rent and stream the film PLUS some exclusive bonus material. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to The ASCAP Foundation to help nurture the music talent of tomorrow.
Remember the name Camille Thurman. As a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and unique interpreter of the jazz tradition, she is quickly becoming one of the standard bearers for the form, making a considerable and dynamic contribution to the legacy of jazz while paying tribute to its heroes.
Fluid and powerful on the tenor saxophone and highly inventive as a vocalist, she also plays bass clarinet, flute, and piccolo. Her rich sax sound has been compared to Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon, while her vocal approach—including an impressive scatting ability—has been classified alongside those of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter.
In a few short years, Thurman has shared stages with such jazz and R&B luminaries as George Coleman, Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JALCO) featuring Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, Charles Tolliver, Jack DeJohnette, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jon Hendricks, Harry Connick Jr., Jon Batiste, Audra MacDonald, Diana Krall, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Louis Hayes, Russell Malone, Nicholas Payton, Jacky Terrasson, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Lalah Hathaway, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, among others.
The New York City native has already amassed several distinctive honors for her musicianship: runner up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, two-time winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and a winner of the Fulbright Scholars Cultural Ambassador Grant, The Chamber Music of America Performance Plus Grant (Sponsored by the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation) and the Jazz Coalition Composers Grant among others. Thurman also has four full-length recordings as a leader to her credit.
Her compositions were featured and performed by her quartet in the ASCAP/The Kennedy Center “Songwriters: The Next Generation” showcase as well as the Greenwich School of Music “Uncharted” Series. Camille has appeared on BET’s “Black Girls Rock” as the saxophonist and flutist in the All-Star Band. Equally adept as a player and a singer, and recognized for her compositional abilities as well, Thurman has also earned accolades from the media, from Jazz Times to Downbeat, All About Jazz to the New York Times, NPR to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, BET to Jazz Night In America.
Thurman tours internationally with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra; she is the first woman in 30 years to tour and perform full time two seasons as a saxophonist with the world-renowned orchestra (2018-2020). After guesting with the JALCO on several shows, including a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and again during the 2017-2018 season as a featured vocalist for the world premiere of the historic work, “The Every Fonky Lowdown,” Thurman was invited to play the tenor saxophone chair for the past two seasons, which covered four continents. When she is not touring with the JALCO, Thurman is on the road leading her band, The Camille Thurman Quartet. She is also a featured artist with the Darrell Green Trio, where she has performed at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, and numerous respected international jazz festivals and venues.
Thurman was chosen by the State Department under the Fulbright Scholarship grant to perform in Paraguay and Nicaragua with her band. She and Darrell Green were selected by American Music Aboard to travel and perform in various African nations including Cameroon, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mauritania.
The dynamic musician is endorsed by D'Addario Woodwinds & Co. for reeds, Conn-Selmer Inc. for saxophones and Key Leaves saxophone products.