These capsule reviews of a few currently available releases are designed to help readers decide which records to buy. Inclusion does not indicate Monitor endorsement. Further reviews in the rock/pop category - as well as in other categories, such as classical and jazz - are published from time to time. ROCK/POP
Alpert, Herb: ''Fandango.'' SP-3731. Herb Alpert music is pleasant. For some jazz lovers, unbearably so. Is he pop or jazz? No matter. He is admirable for his sweet-sounding trumpet, his perfectly polished tunes, and generally ingratiating work. For anyone who has followed Herb Albert since the 1960s and embraced him for his early albums, ''Fandango'' makes some welcome noises. Although the Tijuana Brass and Alpert have parted, there's more of the old magic in this record in some ways than in some Alpert works before the Tijuana Brass left - more Latin flavor, for instance. Some of the more recent Herb Alpert albums were mostly reworkings of pop tunes, such as the lackadaisical ''Summertime'' album. Perhaps coproducer Jose Quitana can be thanked for the improvement. ''Fandango,'' in fact, is a total mastering of the new Herb Alpert style crowds were introduced to with ''Rise'' three years ago. It's a perfect blending of the old Alpert of his ''Lonely Bull'' days and his newer pop-disco flavor. ''Route 101,'' the tune you may have heard on the radio, couldn't be a smoother, more scenic ride if it was paved with silk. Unfortunately, Alpert puts down his trumpet and does a little singing on one of the songs - a mistake he's made in the past. Alpert should stick to his metal instrument. But he's forgiven , because he's produced such a charming LP.