Listen to 'Rise' and 'Rotation' for Herb Alpert's 80th birthday

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Today is the 80th birthday of American musician Herb Alpert: trumpet player, denizen of numerous junk-store record crates, and "schlockmeister" according to a mid-90s "Spot Check" column by Peter Margasak. No argument with Peter there, though I would say that Alpert has one triumph under his belt—the late-70s double whammy of "Rise," a number-one-charting single, and "Rotation," which is essentially a continuation of the style and melody of "Rise." Both are on the 1979 album Rise, and the title track is arguably more famous for being sampled by Diddy and Notorious B.I.G. on "Hypnotize"—one of the greatest songs ever made—than it is for being an instrumental song that hit number one on the Billboard charts. "Rise" and "Rotation" are slow-burning jazz-disco cuts running on a steady pulse, with vapor-trailing guitars gliding over the rhythm section like a slow-motion shot of a speedboat. Alpert may have produced more than his fair share of cheesy material, but give him credit for these two jams. Listen to them back-to-back for today's 12 O'Clock Track.

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