Over the years I have often been asked questions like, "Is it intimidating, strange, weird, nerve wracking, or even scary to be working, musically, with a music legend like Herb Alpert?" No... not at all, He's just my uncle Herbie.
Sérgio Mendes: "I call this project The Magic of Encounters. I think it has to do with our lives as well, because when I think about my life, my whole journey, to still be making music with incredible people and to be performing, that's kind of magical."
What most of the world is only discovering lately is that Herb has spent more than half his life as a respected abstractist painter and sculptor whose work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. Later I cornered Herb and asked, "Why totems?"
The house itself didn't seem like much. It is, in fact, the office of legendary music producer Lou Adler, and its lack of pretention is, I discovered, much like Adler himself: down-to-earth, casual and extremely cool.
On Wednesday I stood in front of my television set in Beverly Hills and actually cried tears of joy at what I was watching. There was the President of the United States, Barack Obama, honoring a man whom I know slightly and respect enormously, who was receiving The National Medal of Arts.
"I enjoy getting out in front of the crowds every single night, I enjoy seeing their faces light up and having a good time out there and seeing the smiles on their faces. That's what gives me a thrill now, just getting up there for the live action and just performing."
Imagine this... two guys have been partners for 50 years in the volatile music business, and until they sold the company in 1989 (for several hundred million dollars!), they didn't even have a written contract between them!
"If you're prepared for what you'd like to do with the rest of your life and you're putting in the time and are passionate about what you're doing, you have to just stay with it. There's no magic formula for how to get through the maze."
There's a lot about the New York trod by the real Mad Men back in 1966 -- the year in which we assume season five will be set -- that would send even die-hard Mad Men retroheads scurrying back to 2012.
I recalled that Hillary Clinton famously said, "It takes a village to raise a child," based upon an old African proverb. Well, all of these folks have taken that literally, and... are building a village.
Five exceptional artists have received grants from the Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). I recently had the pleasure of meeting each of these extraordinary young individuals.