Have you ever had that experience where you know a piece of music so well, yet you have no idea who the artist is? Well, last night as l was randomly looking for some new music, I came across Herb Alpert's !!Going Places!! and hadn't the foggiest idea of what to expect. My absent-mindedness wasn't to last long, however, as within the first few notes of Tijuana Taxi, I immediately knew the tune and could recall it being featured in a random television show or film that I have long since forgotten. Regardless, I was off and running and would also listen to Alpert's The Beat Of The Brass and What Now My Love. Both are exceptional albums and well worth your time checking out. As I listened, I couldn't believe that I had never known, or collected, the music arguably made famous by Herb Alpert. I guess it is better late than never!
I hope you have experienced Herb Alpert before, but either way, join me as we explore the exceptional Latin Jazz album that is !!Going Places!!.
Tjiuana Taxi is an incredible tune that has my entire body moving to the rhythm. Absolutely brilliant!
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You transitions beautifully from Tijuana Taxi. While it is a little more mellow, by comparison, it is equally addictive and a lovely song to listen to.
More And More Amor slows the album down to a romantic pace. I absolutely adore it! The musicality is incredible and when I hear music recorded, mixed, and mastered this well, I can't understand where we went wrong with the loudness wars. I could listen to More And More Amor for hours without suffering fatigue.
Spanish Flea is another tune I recognised the moment I heard it. It is nothing short of perfection. Wow!
Mae is like a slow waltz for the sonic senses. It is very enjoyable and fits perfectly with the style of the album.
3rd Man Theme gets my body moving again. The guitar strumming throughout this song is exceptional. Although, every sonic element of 3rd Man Theme is nothing short of pure perfection. It is one of the best songs on the album and is an absolute pleasure to be able to listen to. We are truly blessed to have music this good.
Walk, Don't Run is another exceptional tune that I'm sure we’ve all heard before. It is as rock and roll as jazz can get and certainly fits within the Jazz Fusion ethos.
Felicia is a beautifully mellow song. What I continue to be amazed at is how well these songs, with quite different rhythms, coexist in the album format. It is a diverse, yet similar, collection of songs that never feel out-of-place. I mention this as it is a rare occurrence. In the age of the single song attention span, additional tracks on albums are increasingly B-sides and that is a shame as I feel the album format, as a piece of recorded performance art, is still an essential element to the music appreciation process. Sure, you can enjoy a song on its own, but there is nothing quite like a cohesive album experience.
And The Angels Sing is beautiful!
Cinco De Mayo is a good song, but it is a B-side. Subsequently, I find myself not connecting with it as much as I would like. That said, it does work well in the album format.
A Walk in The Black Forest is a fantastic little tune. I love it!
Zorba The Greek is an incredible final track that is musically dynamic. It encourages me to listen to the album again and stay within Alpert's catalogue.
!!Going Places!! may only have a relatively short runtime of just over 29 minutes, but when music is this good, I will take quality over quantity any day of the week.
The cover art is similarly compelling and well thought out. I dare say, a vinyl edition would look stunning.
While I do intend to pick up the 2016 vinyl reissue, I can honestly say that the MQA 24/88.2 kHz TIDAL Masters edition is superb and likely the best way to experience this album; certainly from a sonic perspective. I also listened to the 16/44.1 kHz TIDAL Hi-Fi edition and while I would also be very happy listening to that edition, the soundstage is a little shallower and sonic elements that are present on the MQA edition are somewhat concealed on the standard 16/44.1 kHz version. These differences, however, are only truly apparent when comparing releases. Once the music plays, you will be captivated with either option. It is simply that good!
However, I would stay clear of the 2005 reissue of the album as it is harsh and lacks the subtle nuances that make the 2015 remasters so appealing. Also, it is important to note, if you are a headphone listener you may find the bass in the left channel to be a little muffled on some songs. One example of this can be heard on Walk, Don’t Run. Having listened to the various masterings I conclude that the bass is soggy across the entire lineup thereby indicating that it is present on the original recording. Even if I turn off the Bass+ feature on my Oppo HA-2, the bass still sounds loose. It far from a major problem, but one that needed to be noted. I didn’t experience this issue at all playing on loud speakers, using the same DAC/AMP, hence your experience may differ.
!!Going Places!! is available on Vinyl, CD, the TIDAL Store (16/44.1 kHz FLAC), and iTunes (Mastered for iTunes). If you prefer streaming, !!Going Places!! is also available on Spotify and Apple Music.