Smooth Jazz pioneers The Rippingtons will release their latest album, Modern Art, on March 10th via Peak Records (Concord Music Group).
With a legacy firmly rooted in smooth Jazz, The Rippingtons’ 18th release features an explosive lineup lead by founder Russ Freeman alongside Dave Karasony, Bill Heller, as well as new bassist Rico Belled and special guest, returning saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa.
Modern Art breaks new stylistic ground, incorporating exotic world music elements on the sensuously romantic, acoustic guitar driven “Paris Groove” and adds an Eastern authenticity to the hypnotic “Black Book” with an electric sitar. With the sizzling interaction between Freeman’s slow burning electric guitar and Kashiwa’s wild sax improvisations, the easy grooving “One Step Closer” and bluesy “Body Art” will remind longtime fans of the band’s glory days of the 90s, but with a souped up twist!
“I think the music of The Rippingtons has struck a universal chord that is hard to fully explain.” - Russ Freeman
Over the past two decades, Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons have taken the stage thousands of times throughout the world with just one goal in mind: celebrating the joy of life and music with their ever adoring fans. Marking an incredible milestone in the history of smooth jazz, the band turns 20 years old this year, and invites fans all around the world to celebrate with The Rippingtons 20th Anniversary, a remarkable new CD/DVD package that includes a CD of all new Ripps music and a DVD featuring a colorful retrospective as well as exciting videos from over the years. Bio
Most bandleaders would satisfy themselves at such a juncture with a complacent look back and a greatest hits package, but Russ Freeman, true to his ever creative and innovative spirit as a composer and producer, had a more exciting idea: an all-star class reunion of sorts, gathering all Rippingtons recording and touring members past and present to alternate on ten brand new compositions and a sizzling medley featuring newly recorded snippets of nine classic Ripps cuts.
Complementing his own trademark mix of fiery electric and romantic classical guitars, Freeman's guest list is truly a smooth jazz fan's dream"saxophonists Jeff Kashiwa, Paul Taylor, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz and Eric Marienthal; keyboardist Bill Heller; bassist Kim Stone; vocalists Patti Austin and Jeffrey Osborne; drummer Dave Karasony; and special guest Brian McKnight, who wrote, produced and sings lead vocals on the lush romance "Anything." As if that group wasn't enough to get Bill Mayer's famed jazz cat (which graces every Ripps album cover) dancing, The Rippingtons 20th Anniversary also reunites most of the lineup of L.A. musicians who performed on The Rippingtons' groundbreaking 1986 debut album, Moonlighting, which Jazziz Magazine once called the most influential contemporary jazz album of all time: saxophonists Brandon Fields and Dave Koz (who played the EWI on the original recording); pianists David Benoit and Gregg Karukas; bassist Jimmy Johnson; drummer Tony Morales and percussionist Steve Reid. The collection is dedicated with love to the late great singer Carl Anderson, who first tantalized Ripps fans with his brilliant vocalizing on 1989's Tourist in Paradise.