The current May 2011 issue of Los Angeles Magazine includes a fascinating profile of Herb Alpert, the famed trumpet player, music executive, and philanthropist. Alpert, now 76, is best known as the leader of the Tijuana Brass. He has sold more albums than the Beatles.
It all started for him at Melrose Elementary School. As the article says:
Herb grew up in the Fairfax District, where his parents moved when the fortunes of his father, a downtown manufacturer of women’s suits and garments, improved. He was eight when he picked up a trumpet from a table stacked with instruments at Melrose Elementary School. “I was very shy,” he says. “The horn made a loud noise and spoke for me.”
At the time, the Alpert family lived in a house at the corner of Fuller and Rosewood. When his parents saw Herb’s interest in the trumpet, they arranged for him to receive lessons at home from Benjamin Klatzkin, a former principal trumpet for the New York Philharmonic.
Alpert went on to Fairfax High School, a KTLA talent competition that he won, playing wedding and bar mitzvah gigs, and then USC. He co-founded A&M Records in 1962. The same year, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had its first hit with “The Lonely Bull.”
From 1966 to 1999, A&M Records had its headquarters at 1416 N. La Brea Avenue (between Fountain and Sunset), which had previously been the home of Charlie Chaplin Studios, and which today houses Jim Henson Productions.
Alpert now lives in Malibu, and supports numerous non-profit organizations through his Santa Monica-based Herb Alpert Foundation.
But it all started at Melrose Elementary School, when a kid from Fuller and Rosewood picked up a trumpet…