A very rare chance to see a music legend will come on Tuesday, Sept. 24.

That is when the legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert will perform at Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction.

In his career, Alpert has sold 72 million records, most of them with his band, the Tijuana Brass. He also has had five No. 1 hits, 14 platinum albums and 15 gold records while earning nine Grammy Awards.

Alpert formed the very successful A&M Records with Jerry Moss in 1962, The label's list of artists included Carole King, Supertramp, Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens, Cheech & Chong, the Carpenters, Dillard & Clark, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Sting, Sheryl Crow and many others.

That same year Alpert released the first Tijuana Brass album, "The Lonely Bull." Alpert's sound was easy listening, Latin-infused, instrumental jazz. It became his calling card and it was very popular.

Alpert's fourth album, released in 1965 with a new version of Tijuana Bras, was titled "Whipped Cream & Other Delights."

It was the record that really put Alpert on the map musically and cemented his status as a performer. It is full of great songs, such as the title track, "A Taste Of Honey," "Lollipops and Roses," "Bittersweet Samba," "Lemon Tree" and Toots Thielemans' "Ladyfingers."

Allen Toussaint's "Whipped Cream" (he used the pen name Naomi Neville), was the most popular song on the record and was used on the television show "The Dating Game."

It was played as the bachelorettes were being introduced and it garnered three Grammy Awards on its own. I remember watching that Grammy Awards show with my parents.

The album became a staple in most American households at that time and even now it sells regularly at Triple Play on both CD and LP.

"Whipped Cream & Other Delights" is imprinted in the minds of many men who were boys when it came out, not because of the music but because of its cover. It shows a very beautiful young woman in a seductive pose covered only in whipped cream and holding a single rose.

Most of the time now, folks bring up the cover in conversation while buying it for the music.

My sales rep from our music warehouse for the past dozen years is named Jody. She lives in Chicago. One day, I was talking to her about the album when she asked, "Do you remember the girl on the cover of that record?"

My response: What man my age doesn't remember that cover?

It was then that Jody said, "she was my babysitter for a few years when I was a kid."

I about fell out of my chair! She was your babysitter? Wait until I tell the guys in men's club.

Because of Alpert, I chose to learn to play the trumpet in sixth-grade band class in Gypsum. I convinced my parents to purchase a Conn trumpet for $100, which was a lot of money in those days.

I practiced pretty hard with that thing, which no one wanted to hear. It was one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do.

It led to the first and only "F" grade I ever received in school. I found out much later that the more buttons an instrument has the easier it is to play.

I should have chosen the saxophone.

Go see Alpert. He can really play!

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St. Email him at rock@acsol.net.

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