Trombonist Geoff Alpert has loved music all his life, studying the craft, learning several brass and valve instruments, playing in bands and composing songs. Inspired by the likes of jazz legend JJ Johnson, rock band Chicago’s James Pankow, and fusion greats such as Wayne Henderson and Raul de Souza, Geoff studied music as a major at San Diego State University while supplementing his income gigging near and far. Yet he walked away from music for 30 years in the early 80’s to be an ideal provider as a husband and father. Following the painful passing of his wife from cancer in 2002, Geoff did some profound soul searching which led him to pick up his trombone again, gradually easing back into the scene where he met bassist Darryl Williams and musical director and keyboardist Gail Jhonson. Both pushed and assisted him in creating a musical statement that spoke to his emotional life story, his undying passion for the art form and the spiritual Eastern martial arts disciplines that guided him along his journey. That album is ”Open Your Heart”.
Geoff Alpert’s ”Open Your Heart”, co–produced with Gail Jhonson, is a 10 tune tapestry which lovingly places the trombone in a front and center position it rarely enjoys in the present musical landscape. Floating between jazz, pop, r’n’b and latin sound signatures, it’s a bold, yet highly accessible listen. Highlights include the Brazilian flight of the title track, a cover of The Jacksons’ “Heartbreak Hotel”, composed by the immortal Michael Jackson and specially arranged for Geoff by Gail, the transfixing and deeply touching trombone and keyboard duet “Thinking About You”, in memory of his departed mother and wife, “The Crusade”, a tribute to The Crusaders emulating some of the progressive sounds of the band’s evolution over 5 groundbreaking decades, the groovin’ “Zen Funk”, featuring bassist Darryl Williams and dedicated to the Ken Ka Kung Fu Club, the martial arts school which Geoff has been both student and teacher for 4 decades, and an especially emotive cover of sister trio The Emotions’ 1977 hit “Don’t Ask My Neighbors”, on which Geoff tips his hat to trombonist Raul de Souza, first instrumentalist to cover the song in 1978, produced by the late George Duke, while placing his own heart piercing stamp on the Quiet Storm classic.
“This album, like my teaching of Ken Ka Kung Fu, is all about love, sharing and the willingness to open your heart”, Geoff explains. “Wherever you go in life, the center of your journey is always found within. Challenge yourself, maintaining your balance and focus as you navigate life’s obstacles on your way to becoming your truest, most humble best self, with honesty, integrity, discipline and respect”.