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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman: Fountain of Youth

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If Fountain of Youth isn't the zenith of The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman it is difficult to imagine what would be. You can't get much more Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman than a Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman album featuring only Russ Freeman. It's a Russ Freeman solo album brilliantly disguised as a Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman album. There is no one with the surname of “Rippington" in The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman and there never has been. That's the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons: Built to Last

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Bandleader, guitarists and songwriter Russ Freeman pulls no stops on the Rippingtons' 25th anniversary release, Built to Last, featuring a full orchestra to complement the sound of his compositions, has he runs the gamut of the sounds that have influenced him throughout the years, moving from movie score-like tunes to heavy metal, country & western and retro-sounding jazz.The album kicks off with the title tune, which sounds as if it belongs in a film soundtrack. Lush ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman: Cote D' Azur

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Of the many incarnations of Russ Freeman's The Rippingtons, the current version is one of the strongest, with the players actually cohering as a band and not simply sidemen in Freeman's long-running side project. He remains the guiding light as the principal composer, writer and producer, giving the other musicians some stimulating music to play. Jeff Kashiwa is typically an acceptable, if not exceptional saxophonist, but, freed from any responsibility other than to get his groove on, he falls to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman: Modern Art

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The Rippingtons, featuring Russ Freeman, have undergone numerous personnel changes over the years. Although the band has been more stable since Let It Ripp (Peak, 2003), it's still evolving. Modern Art attempts to walk the fine line between observing the past and moving into the future. Freeman founded the group in the mid-'80s and has been the principle songwriter and producer throughout its existence. In the early years, an ever-changing rotation of session musicians comprised The Rippingtons' family. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons: 20th Anniversary

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In 1986, the term “smooth jazz had not made its way into the vernacular. However, the groundwork for what would become a radio format and, to some degree, a genre of music, had been laid. Among those paving the way was Russ Freeman, founder and principal songwriter for the Rippingtons.

In the early years, the Rippingtons weren't a band so much as a concept. As Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were to Steely Dan, Freeman was to the Rippingtons, surrounding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman: Wild Card

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Longevity is perhaps the truest sign that an artist, or group, is doing something right. After nearly two decades and some sixteen albums, The Rippingtons keep rolling. Their latest venture, Wild Card, is proof that the current lineup is the best. In their early years, The Rippingtons consisted mainly of Freeman on guitars, keyboards, and programming; varying sidemen, including Jeff Kashiwa and Mark Portmann; and such studio guests as saxophonists Kenny G, Brandon Fields, Kirk Whalum, Paul Taylor, and Eric ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons: Wild Card

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Think of it as a visit to Cuba where the dining experience is grabbing a burger at El Rapido.

The government-run chain emulates American fast food with the same culinary verve as pizza joints, where ketchup is used for sauce. That's not to say the Rippingtons' Wild Card is stomach-churning--just a somewhat limp rendition of the usual fare.

Lead guitarist Russ Freeman's description of the album is commendable enough, focusing on Cuban/Miami salsa that expands on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rippingtons: Life in the Tropics

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As the title suggests, the latest from Russ Freeman does indeed have a tropical, Caribbean feel throughout most of the program. “Caribbean Breeze" is a sunsual classical guitar duet with Peter White. “Rhythm of Your Life," one of the hotter tunes on the program, features the Gloria Estefan-influenced vocal of Daisy Lourdes Villa. A horn trio of studio pros Jerry Hey and Gary Grant on trumpets and Bill Reichenbach on trombone spices up this tune as well as the hard-driving ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Rippingtons: Black Diamond

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The Rippingtons has always been Russ Freeman's band: Freeman has always composed all the tunes, produced the records, and been featured prominently. It started as sort of a phantom group that was really Freeman and some studio pals, and developed into an actual touring ensemble. The band gradually assumed more of a group identity as long-time members such as Jeff Kashiwa (saxophones and EWI), Kim Stone (bass), and Steve Reid (percussion) became more prominent parts of the mix. But for ...


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