What a strange coincidence that we had recorded yesterday's CBS Sunday Morning from earlier in the day, and switched it on as we were getting ready to go out for the evening to discover that the profile of the week was an interview with Herb Alpert!
The evening was a lot of fun. First, Herb's table included some fascinating guests--writers, producers, and others whose names might be familiar. Having met most of them for the first time last night, I do not feel free to include their names in my report; but it is rare in my experience to sit down with a group of such interesting and creative individuals. Across from me was a woman working on what she described as a "chick lit" novel; next door, a man currently working on an extended piece about Herb Alpert for a major publication; down at the other end, a brilliant thinker about human creativity, whose TED talks have been a major draw for audiences world wide; a fellow blogger who also writes about the arts for the Los Angeles Times; a Hollywood publicist who, we discovered, grew up not five miles from one of my father's parishes where I lived as a child; and more. A lively table, then, with plenty of interesting cross-talk over drinks and dinner--until the music made further conversation impossible.
I'm not going to act the music critic. I have mentioned at frequent intervals in The Buddha Diaries--most recently in my review of Keith Richards's autobiography--that my knowledge of the medium is truly abysmal. (I caught myself thinking, the other day, sitting in an audience of people listening to a contemporary cello sonata, how the discordant noises did not sound like music to my ear; and then remembered the multitude of people to whom contemporary art does not look the least bit like art. It is necessary to have taken the trouble to be informed before making judgments of this kind.) No matter, the subtleties may have escaped me but Herb Alpert and Lani Hall's music was a delight to this uneducated ear--lively, foot-tapping, head-nodding interpretations of familiar tunes by some of the great composers of popular American music and jazz, including a medley of those songs made famous by Herb and his Tijuana Brass back in the 1960s.
It was, too, a great way to spend the eve of Valentine's Day. This wonderfully gifted musical couple have been together for more than thirty years, and the chemistry that still glows between them is an inspiration. As the show's title suggests, the numbers it includes are mostly love songs, and it seemed to me that the show itself is a celebration of that mutual feeling that holds couples like Ellie and myself together for, now, more than forty years. It was a joyful and deeply pleasurable evening.