Timeless summer music from the Bowl makes this heat tolerable!

So here it is another weekend! I’m gearing up to open our home to my cousins, coming down from the Bay Area for a family wedding and I had to remind them to expect Southern California to be just a little bit warmer than what they are experiencing in San Francisco.

It’s hot! Really hot! However, I am certain that if I took the time to see what I shared last September, heat and humidity would have been all over those posts, too. Typically we get the worst of the so-called summer heat in early autumn, so this current heat wave isn’t too surprising.

But what we do have going for us are fantastic summer evenings. Blazing daylight hours turn to easy cool at night. And one of my favorite ways to spend a summer night is relaxing under the stars while at the Hollywood Bowl. I enjoy it all.

My eclectic musical tastes may have been heavily influenced by the artists I listened to as a young person. My little aqua blue transistor radio rarely left my side.

And looking back to the List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1966, the year I entered high school, reminds me that the songs most played included “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, “We Can Work it Out,” by the Beatles, “Paint it Black,” by the Stones, and “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra.

Frank Sinatra? Yes, and daughter Nancy had a #1 that year, too–an eclectic assemblage, don’t you think? The era’s music was good, plentiful, and featured artists with diverse musical backgrounds and histories. I suppose I had favorites, but because I enjoyed it all, my “favorites” moved up and down the list.

One artist that broke through during that time was a new-to-America performer, Sérgio Mendes. I adored the easy  mix of Brazilian bossa nova–samba–Latin jazz-what was that new sound? And to better connect to a young American audience, Mendes featured music from the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, as well as Cole Porter and Bacharach, just mixed with a spicy Latin beat.

My albumsYep! I still have my albums, although I no longer have the 8-tracks, cassettes and assorted other vintage Mendes collections I once held.

One of the distinctions of this Brazilian sound was the beautiful voice of a young American singer, Lani Hall, who may be more familiar to you for her rendition of the theme song from the James Bond film “Never Say Never Again.


Then there is Lani’s husband of 39 years, Herb Alpert, trumpeter and music entrepreneur.  Although Alpert is probably most clearly recognized for his association with TJB–Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, he is also responsible, along with Jerry Moss, for founding A&M Records, which throughout the 60’s and 70’s signed Cat Stevens, Billy Preston, Quincy Jones, Joan Baez, Captain and Tennille, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, and yes, Sérgio Mendes…recognizable names?

Each of these three seasoned artists has enjoyed varied and successful music and business careers yet they continue to create fresh sounds. Mendes released the CD “Timeless” in 2006, partnering with will i. am as producer, featuring John Legend, Erykah Badu, and the Black Eyed Peas, assuring his distinctive sound remains current and relevant–not bad for a guy who started his career more than 50 years ago.

To see a pretty snazzy version of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Alpert and Hall…click HERE. Don’t miss Herb as the bus driver!

The enthusiastic audience was remarkably mixed-age and appreciative of the body of work represented by each of these artists. Alpert and Hall performed the first set up to intermission, and Mendes came in for the second, pulling Hall back in to sing from the Brasil ’66 songbook that first introduced her as a recording artist.

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Yes, I’m enthusiastic. I could go to the Bowl every week during the summer and not lose my enthusiasm.  And so next post I’ll share another one of our concerts–distinctively different from Brazilian Jazz.

Just for fun, I’ve added a video I think you’ll really enjoy. That is if you like stories about talent discovered in the most unlikely of opportunities.

At the recent Bowl concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth, the talented and personable artist invited an audience member to come up and sing with her. I’ll let the video tell the story. Skip the ad and enjoy!

41 thoughts on “Timeless summer music from the Bowl makes this heat tolerable!

    1. Rain! Pouring rain! I’d love that, Jim. It’s going to be at least 103 degrees today, according to the morning news. That’s just too hot! I hope you will find something from Sérgio Mendes you’d enjoy. He’s very versatile and quite a performer. He’s won so many awards, too. I suppose he isn’t for everyone, but I admire his versatility. He’s remained true to his Latin roots and kept the distinctive Brazilian rhythms and style, but tried to remain current. I don’t know too many aging performers who have so intentionally done that. Enjoy that rain!! I’m sure it gets old, too, but right now, I’m envious! 🙂

    1. I’m so glad to learn that you, too, enjoy Herb Alpert! 🙂 He is so versatile and has such a wonderful catalog. It’s a shame that sometimes he’s only known as a limited performer with Tijuana Brass, although I loved that era, too! He just offers so much more. And his wife, Lani Hall, has a gorgeous voice, if you can find anything she’s done as a solo act! Enjoy! I had so much fun sharing. 🙂

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the video. I assume you watched the one with Krstin C. and the teacher? I just smile all over the place when I watch it, and I’ve watched it several times. Such a surprise! 🙂 Hope you have a good weekend, Colleen…and hope the weather is more hospitable than it is here! 🙂

      1. We are having gorgeous weather! I would share it with you if I could. Cool in the mornings and evenings. Pleasantly “just” hot during the day.

        And that is the video I watched. She is a charmer, that Kristin. And oh my what a wonderful job they did together without practice!

  1. What a fantastic post. I didn’t realize Herb was still performing … good for me … Did you know he is a creates sculptures? Here’s an outstanding interview from CBS Sunday Morning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coNcvlgz0kI …. Meanwhile, that last video was awesome … a thrill of a lifetime! By the way … great seats! …. love your wide range of music …. most of our vinyls are now gone.

    1. I didn’t know about Herb and sculpting, Frank! I only knew about his painting. What a talented man! I’ll enjoy the video, thank you! I don’t have all my old vinyls certainly, and more and more I’m thinning them out. They take space and I don’t really listen to them. I think about listening to them…not quite the same thing. 🙂 I’m glad you watched the video with Kristin Chenowith. I will have another post soon with one more concert, and then our final visit to the Bowl is next weekend. I’m glad I can share some of my musical interests, and thank you, Frank, for taking the time to comment! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Good gosh, Debra, you’ve had me up and down memory lane for a good hour this morning (yes, Tom, I’ll get thebills paid, after I finish reading Debra). I’ll be humming those top 100 of ’66 all day and remembering my high school year with a smile. What a wonderful concert to attend, but, then, are there any bad ones at the Hollywood Bowl? I never tire of hearing about the concerts you attend there, Debra, and will admit that my musical appreciation is as eclectic as yours. Kindred spirits. Puttin’ on the Ritz was fun to watch, and there was Herb, again, as the bartender. They are all looking pretty good after these years.

    What a wonderful post. Hope the heat abates. We’ve been having some good weather here this week after last weeks inferno. Have a good day, Debra.

    1. Penny, you really gave me a smile this morning. I knew the list of names and the music I recalled would still be fresh and relevant to you! It was so lovely to see these “greats” still performing well into their 70s, and a young crowd appreciative of the talent and music history they represented.

      One of my favorite television shows is “So You Think You Can Dance” and earlier this season the show opened with a very complex music video featuring the contestants. As soon as I heard the trumpet I knew it was Herb Alpert. When they introduced him to the crowd, the very young audience didn’t seem to know who he was–I wasn’t surprised at that–but I thought of how for those of us over a certain age, ahem!, we KNOW that sound. It takes me back to happy memories.

      Thank you so much for sharing your own enthusiasm, my friend We are kindred spirits in so many ways. Hope you got those bills done…mine are sitting in a pile. I’m hoping they just take care of themselves. Ha! Hope it is a lovely weekend. I just heard we are expected to top 103 degrees today. I hope my cousins don’t melt!! ox

  3. You already know my Sergio Mendes story………I’m glad you enjoyed the concert. Music has such a way of jarring memory, of reminding us of who we were and where we’ve been.

    I wondered if you were at the Kristin Chenoweth concert. That video is just lovely. I was so proud of the way she held it together. I would just cried and cried and cried. 🙂

  4. What excellent taste in music you have Debra! Loved the video. I wish we had more concerts nearby. When we lived in the city we always went to the annual jazz festival weekend and have seen some great artists there. Have a great weekend!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the video of Kristin Chenowith and the music teacher. I smile every time I even think of it! We have a lot of outdoor musical entertainment, I think in response to the weather, but also because our population is so dense, these outdoor venues can handle more people. These concerts are also very inexpensive. 🙂

  5. I love going to outdoor concerts. I have a sister living in LA and she is heavily pregnant and told me that this week it has been so hot in LA that she has been staying inside with the air-con cranked up xx

  6. Fantastic post, Debra. My brothers played trumpet . . . so we listened to lots of Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. I didn’t know of the connection between Herb Albert and Cat Stevens. Thanks for that. Cat Stevens was a cool cat! 😎

  7. Wow Debra, you really zinged my heartstrings with this one! The very first pop concert I ever attended was the TJB with Brazil 66 and the Baja Marimba Band (remember them?) at the Hollywood Bowl in September 1967. At the time I had a huge crush on Herb Alpert, so you have stirred up some wonderful memories.

    I don’t think I ever saw Sergio Mendez again, although I’ve enjoyed his musical evolution over the years. I did see the TJB several more times and last saw Herb Alpert in Orange County in the late 90s. He was looking good then, and is still looking good now — although obviously older, but aren’t we all? 🙂

    1. What a fun memory for you, Lori! yes, I do remember the Baja Marimba Band, although I hadn’t thought of them in decades! LOL! I also thought Herb Alpert was just wonderful and very handsome. He recalled the time he walked out in his white suit singing “This Guys in Love With You.” He said that he was performing with Barbra Streisand and some other big names and he knew he was going to sing in front of everyone. He was nervous and came up with the “drama” of the white suit and walking out of the crowd for a surprise just to distinguish himself from the great talents. And then, of course, that became a signature dress for a while. He was very sweet with his wife Lani, and we really enjoyed the evening. I’m glad I could share it with you! ox

  8. 103˚?!?!? You certainly are in the middle of a heat wave, Debra! We’ve had some unseasonably warm days but nothing like what you’re experiencing. Hopefully some cool ocean breezes bring you some relief once the sun sets. This sounds like a concert I would have enjoyed, with 3 such talented performers to entertain us. It’s a lovely way to spend a Summer’s evening. I’ve seen and enjoyed that video clip of Chenoweth and the voice coach. What a surprise for Chenoweth and such a rare treat for a teacher.

    1. it hasn’t cooled off too much yet, John, but it won’t be too much longer, I’m fairly sure! 🙂 Wasn’t that Chenowith clip just the best? I love a story like that, and I thought KC was so clever with the way she enjoyed the moment with the teacher. It reminded me a little bit of the Susan Boyle moment in front of Simon Cowell. There’s a lot of untapped talent out there and I love a discovery. 🙂

  9. What a fantastic way to end the summer so to speak. I love the song “Paint It Black.” My sister and I used to listen to that song when we were kids. Just loved it. Even now when I hear it come on the radio I turn it up and sing rather loudly (and badly I might add). I hope it’s cooling down for you. We’re expecting a heat wave this week too, but not in the 100’s.

    1. We’re not quite out of the woods on that heat yet, Kristy, but I’m hoping for soon! We are going to the Bowl for our last concert this next Saturday. And that should be a fun one…a really party! I’ll be talking about that one for certain, and I am quite sure you’ll be familiar with the music, even though the artists date back to the 70s! That’s a small hint. 🙂

  10. It seems like every year it gets hotter and hotter. 😦 Ventura is more tolerable than LA and San Diego, and I love it for that.
    Well hey! If itmakes youfeel better, it is dang humid and muggy here in Japan.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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