Herb Alpert's sculptures, like visual jazz


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The famed trumpet player's abstract works are on display in Beverly Hills.

Standing in a forest of sinuous, black totems spiraling into the lofty heights of the main room at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills, Herb Alpert is surrounded by an art form he has practiced for the last two decades--sculpture. By his account and that of those who know him, he's a man who lives on the right side of his brain--he percolates on the creative and the intuitive.

“I do something every day, whether sculpting or painting," he says. “It definitely feeds my spirit when I sculpt or paint or blow the horn, that's an essential part of my being."

He also believes that others should have a chance for self-expression through the arts, as well as positive standards of living, and to that end he has given away nearly $100 million over 20 years.

At 75, his art practice and his arts philanthropy keep him busy. Just this spring, he read an account of the imminent demise of the venerable Harlem School of the Arts because of lack of funding. Since the early 1960s the New York institution has provided training in music, dance, theater and the visual arts to mostly underprivileged kids.

Alpert quickly called Rona Sebastian, the head of his foundation. “Unbelievable," he said, and set her to seeing what they could do about it. She approached New York's Department of Cultural Affairs, and in two weeks the Herb Alpert Foundation was able to offer a half million dollar matching grant--it saved the school.

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