The Rippingtons: Black Diamond
But the first six songs on this album sounds heavily "manufactured" – technically perfect, but rather faceless. Despite the presence of several of the bandmates and the natural warmth of Freeman's acoustic guitar on some cuts, it sounds like a one-man synth show. Freeman goes through all the right motions, but the spark that has ignited so many previous Rippingtons’ recordings just isn't there.
The program finally catches fire on three of the last four tunes. "North Peak" is fueled by the driving fury and intensity of Steve Reid's percussion. Next, trumpeter supreme Arturo Sandoval ignites the passionate and energetic "Angelfire" with a virtuostic trumpet solo. Saxophonist / flutist Nelson Rangell enlivens the otherwise over-programmed "Jewel Thieves," and the CD closes with the title cut, which features a more laid-back acoustic sound.
Record Label: Concord Music Group