Smooth jazz stalwarts the Rippingtons infuse their trademark brand of instrumental pop with a Latin aesthetic on Wild Card. Once again featuring the lead guitar of Russ Freeman, the Rippingtons deliver a solid collection of mellow contemporary pop and lite jazz that should please longtime fans. Evenly split between R&B-inflected cuts such as the Aretha Franklin hit "Till You Come Back to Me" and Latin tracks including the flamenco-inspired "Spanish Girl" and the salsa-ready "Mulata di Mi Amor," Wild Card is a pleasant listen.
The ultimate contemporary jazz hyphenate Russ Freeman (guitarist/arranger/producer/keyboardist/composer) became one of smooth jazz's most influential artists through magnificent projects like this one, chosen by Jazziz as the best contemporary jazz album of all time. This third Ripps release is a masterpiece of mouthwatering pop-jazz tunes, featuring strong hooks, gorgeous texturing, and styles ranging from tropical (the sunny "Aruba" featuring Rob Mullins on keys and Carl Anderson scatting away) and Brazilian ("One Summer Night in Brazil," Freeman's lush centerpiece) to soulful (a cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together")…
First class fusion from guitarist Russ Freeman and company. Russ always uses the heavy hitters on the L.A. session scene, and Patti Austin contributes one vocal track.
The Rippingtons' 20th studio album, 2014's Fountain of Youth, is an expansive, layered, and stylistically varied release conceptualized around the travels of early European explorers like Juan Ponce de León, whose search for an elusive magical fountain inspired the album's title. Once again showcasing guitarist and longtime bandleader Russ Freeman, the album finds the journeyman smooth jazz outfit exploring a wide array of sounds, from the cinematic, flamenco-infused "Rivers of Gold" to the percussion and flute-heavy "We Will Live Forever" and the funky, blues-infused "Soul Riders." This is an ambitious, colorful release.
This CD is well crafted. There is a balance between tunes with a rock and roll edge, some more mellow songs and one with a calypso flavor, complete with steel drums! Also included in this musical work is a soulful rendition of the musical standard "I'll be there." The CD wraps up with a hard driving piece titled "Porcha". This band is hot!
Released in 1986, this album not only stands as a genre-defining primer on what has become known as smooth jazz, but it also helped launch the careers of various artists whose music has been crucial to the genre's vitality. In addition to composer/guitarist/producer Russ Freeman and the Ripps, there's David Benoit (playing a gorgeous piano melody on "Mirage"), keyboardist Gregg Karukas, bassist Jimmy Johnson (who scored hits with Flim & the BBs), saxmen Brandon Fields and Dave Koz (whose floating Electronic Wind Instrument melody guides the silky "Dreams"), and some soprano-wielding guy named Kenny G.
The Rippingtons’ Russ Freeman has always led a peripatetic existence, growing up in Nashville and living in L.A., Colorado and Florida, among other locales. His wanderlust is reflected in much of his group’s music (Life in the Tropics, Morocco, etc.). On Cote D’Azur, French, Latin, Gypsy and Euro rhythms mix and mesh to make what will surely stand as one of the freshest contemporary-jazz CDs of the year. In the group’s 25th year, the Rippingtons continue to be at the top of their game.
The Best of The Rippingtons is a compilation album by the American jazz group The Rippingtons, released in 1997 by the GRP label. The album is a retrospective of their previous GRP albums, and also includes two previously unreleased tracks. The album reached No. 10 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart.
The Rippingtons are a Grammy-nominated contemporary jazz group, founded by guitarist and composer Russ Freeman in 1985. The group has passed the thirty year mark, and continues to innovate. Under Freeman's production, the group has released 22 albums, all of which have attained top 5 Billboard status, with 5 of them reaching #1. Their debut album, "Moonlighting", which Jazziz magazine has called "the number one most influential contemporary jazz album of all time." The group's influences are wide-ranging, from instrumental pop, to rock, to world music, to EDM, to R&B. Some artists having recorded with the Rippingtons include Arturo Sandoval, Jeffrey Osbourne, Kirk Whalum, Kenny G…