Herb Alpert and Lani Hall to Play Cafe Carlyle

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Nick Sparos
Thursday, August 31, 2017

After Labor Day Weekend, New Yorkers will turn their attention back to their year-round residences, as Tuesday, September 5 ushers in the fall. And with it, a buzz of activity.

Always channeling intimate fall vibes with its cabaret setting, Café Carlyle kick-starts the season with two-week residency of iconic husband-and-wife duo Herb Alpert and Lani Hall.

“Café Carlyle is up close and personal. I love the feeling,” says Alpert of playing at the New York establishment, which has been showcasing live music since it opened in 1955. Alpert will take the stage with Hall and a three-piece band including a drummer, bassist and keyboardist.

The set will be improvisational. “I’ll do a Tijuana Brass medley, and Lani will do a Brasil ’66 medley. As far as the rest of the show, we’ll invent it as we go along,” Alpert says. Married for 43 years, the two are able to feed off of each other. “We just have a really great time together,” says Alpert. “We understand each other creatively.”

Alpert and Hall met while she was the lead singer for Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66. The band signed a contract with A&M Records, a label started by Alpert and Jerry Moss. “We became friends first,” he says of how their relationship grew. “She changed my life.”

Both were already on the path to illustrious musical careers. Alpert has found success both on the production side, and as a vocalist and instrumentalist. As a jazz musician, he has scored five No. 1 hits and nine Grammy awards for both his solo recordings and time with the band Tijuana Brass. He received his most recent Grammy in 2014 for the album Steppin’ Out.

Eighty-two years old with six decades of experience in the music industry, Alpert maintains that the best part of his career began when he met Hall. “This amazing thing just happened serendipitously,” he says. “She brought a whole different color to my life. We have an extraordinary togetherness.”

Alpert often asks for his wife’s input into his musical endeavors, and “she has no problem being honest,” he says. “Sometimes, it’s a little daunting. But she has a feeling about [the sound] because she’s just listening with her heart. She doesn’t analyze. It’s always nice to be around someone who’s just thinking and feeling.”

Alpert was first drawn to the trumpet in elementary school. “There was a table filled with musical instruments, and the trumpet fit in my hand nicely,” he recalls. “It became my voice.” Fostering the arts is important to Alpert and Hall, as they fund numerous education initiatives and music grants through the Herb Alpert Foundation. “It’s important for kids to experience creativity, whatever form that takes,” he says. “I think if they can do that and feel good about it, they can appreciate their own uniqueness. We need that more than ever.”

Bringing people together through music is a passion of Alpert’s. He recently covered I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, with the music video showcasing the power of love. “I wanted to put something out that was really positive and uplifting,” he says. The song is part of his new album Herb Alpert Music Volume 1, which recently topped the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album chart. His next album, The Christmas Wish, is due out on September 29. “It’s filled with recognizable Christmas songs,” he says. Hall sings on one of them; and Paul Williams wrote the title track.

Until, then, “I’m looking forward to playing at The Carlyle,” Alpert says. “It’s always an interesting experience. When we play on the West Coast, people come to our concert in torn $300 jeans. At The Carlyle, it’s a little more elegant.”

Herb Alpert and Lani Hall will play at Café Carlyle from Tuesday, September 5 through Saturday, September 16. For tickets and additional information, visit



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