Posts Tagged ‘ The Rippingtons ’

The Rippingtons – Open Road

For us continental Europeans it is a difficult undertaking to see The Rippingtons live in Europe. I had the pleasure to attend a concert of this group at the Apollo Theatre in London/Hammersmith several years ago. In the meantime a lot of water has flowed down the Rhine and the group around guitarist Russ Freeman is now forming up with drummer Dave Karasony, saxophonist Brandon Fields, bassist Rico Belled and keyboardist Bill Heller.

The new album Open Road (2018) is just taking the Billboard charts by storm. Bill Mayer has anew created the cover like he did on all previous albums, the common denominator since the beginning. Russ Freeman, founder and spiritual guide of the group, has composed, arranged, recorded and produced all tracks.

Russ performs keyboards, guitars, bass, percussion, rhythm programming. Dave Karasony plays drums, Brandon Fields saxophone on the tracks 3, 7 and 10. Remarkably, Russ does not go much into the cast in his interviews. After all, the tracks are played live by all members.

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The Rippingtons – Open Road

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman are back with a new album: Open Road. The Rippingtons and Russ Freeman have been at the forefront of the contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, and instrumental pop music genres! They have sold over 3.5 Million albums to date. Every new Rippingtons album has debuted in the Top 5 of the Billboard Jazz Chart including 4 number 1 debuts! With every album a new chapter has been written with their innovative song writing, in-studio production and inventive instrumentation, and Open Road is no exception.

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The Rippingtons – True Stories

True Stories“When I started the Rippingtons, I never imagined it would last more than the release of one album, let alone thirty years!” recalls Russ Freeman, leader and founder of the pioneering, GRAMMY® nominated group The Rippingtons, who are celebrating their 30th anniversary year with the release of True Stories, the band’s 22nd recording to be released June 24, 2016.

True Stories, recorded over an intensive three-month span, is a refreshing elixir that will delight devout fans of The Rippingtons and attract new ones. Joined by original Rippington, alto and soprano saxophonist Brandon Fields, drummer Dave Karasony, bassist and rhodes player Rico Belled and special guest Jeffrey Osborne, Freeman orchestrates ten compelling originals. The album opens with the hypnotic and scintillating “Wild Tales,” the CD’s first single, which Freeman calls an “experiment in randomness.” Fusing elements of jazz with traces of EDM and world influences, The Rippingtons foreshadow the journey ahead and promise it to be nothing short of exhilarating. Many of the classic Rippingtons hit repertoire prominently feature rich saxophone melodies and this time out Freeman showcases his unparalleled guitar wizardry.

On True Stories his choice of axe is a Patrick Cummings gold custom Brian Moore 30th Anniversary Russ Freeman model guitar. He plays it on all the album tracks with the exception of “Wonderland,” which features a Rosewood Fender Telecaster. The epic number transports listeners through several breathtaking, suspenseful movements that are crystallized by Freeman’s beautiful and intuitive playing. He cites this song as his favorite on the CD and you can hear the love he pours into each unforgettable moment. Amazingly, the song was recorded in one take. “I’m a big believer in first takes and stream of consciousness,” explains Freeman. “There’s something in the DNA of a first take that I find fascinating. The raw ideas are always hidden in there.” The swooning and uplifting “Sundance,” follows featuring the lyrical saxophone Brandon Fields and blues-filled and rockin’ and guitar lines of Freeman. “Sundance reminds me of the hard work of songwriting. Sometimes you have to make yourself grind it out and you get lucky. This song is perfect for the live band,” shares Freeman who will be taking True Stories on the road this Summer. Continue reading

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman – Fountain of Youth

One thing a credits geek looks for in a new recording is to see who the musicians are and what instruments they’re playing. One thing that jumps out to a credits geek when perusing Fountain of Youth (Peak, E-One, 2014) by the Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman is the absence of any musicians other than Freeman. It looks and feels like a solo project.

Freeman, a fabulous guitarist, songwriter and producer, founded the Rippingtons in the middle 1980s. At the time, the group was basically Freeman surrounding himself with a flexible and versatile lineup of musician friends, including Kenny G, Brandon Fields and David Benoit. A few albums later, the group began to take shape with such players as Tony Morales, Steve Reid, Mark Portmann and Kim Stone being regular fixtures, with saxophone duties spread among Paul Taylor, Jeff Kashiwa, Kirk Whalum and Eric Marienthal.

It wasn’t until 2003’s Let It Ripp that the touring band of Freeman, Marienthal, Stone, Scott Breadman and Dave Karasony was also the session band for the entire album. That configuration remained in place until Stone’s departure a few years later. Over the years, Freeman released two solo albums and two recordings with Benoit, the Benoit/Freeman Project. However, this is the first time in Rippingtons history that there appears to be no Rippingtons – only Freeman.

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The Rippingtons – Fountain Of Youth

FountainFountain of Youth album for sale by Russ Freeman & The Rippingtons  is scheduled to be released Jun 10, 2014 on the Entertainment One Music label. The album was recorded mostly by Russ Freeman.

1. Spice Route
2. Rivers Of Gold
3. North Shore
4. We Will Live Forever
5. The Sun King
6. Fountain Of Youth
7. Emerald City
8. Soul Riders
9. Waterfalls Of Bequia
10. Garden Of Gods

“North Shore” will be the first single sent to radio, with the first expected air date of May 12.

Russ Freeman has called this the “Rippingtons Guitar Heaven CD.”

A full national tour is expected to be announced very soon on The first stay will be in Las Vegas.

The Rippingtons – Built To Last

The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman will release a new album entitled Built To Last on August 28, 2012. The album took 15 months to write and record.  The first single is “Cougars and Gigolos.” iTunes offers a “deluxe edition” with a bonus track and digital booklet. The range of music goes from orchestrated, widescreen epics, to lyrical, smooth ballads, and high energy, progressive jazz-rock.

Its their biggest, most ambitious album ever. The album contains 16 tracks with four bonus tracks and one reprise. Rippingtons leader Russ Freeman has challenged himself and his band mates to make an imaginative, hook-filled collection. The mix of music is enticing and sure to please fans and newcomers alike, and includes four bonus alternative versions with full orchestra, adding a further, neo-classical dimension to this career landmark.

The Rippingtons – Côte D’Azur

Listening to Côte D’Azur, by the Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman, is like watching a half each of two different movies. Several songs sound like they’re set in dance clubs where techno or electronica reigns. The rest depend less on electronic effects.

Côte D’Azur, translated in English as Coast Azure, is more commonly known in the Western world as the French Riviera. This region of southern France inspired Freeman’s songwriting. His wife, singer/songwriter Yaredt Leon, is part French.

In addition to Freeman, the Rippingtons are Rico Belled on bass, Dave Karasony on drums, Bill Heller on keyboards and Jeff Kashiwa on saxophones.

Sainte Maxime is an upbeat groove that features some of Freeman’s elegant guitar play, partnered with saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa’s crystal clear alto. The bass, drum and keyboard parts are subtle but effective. Guitar and sax blend beautifully on the melody.

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The Rippingtons – Cote D’Azur

Fans that have followed Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons for any stretch of time over the past quarter century know the versatile award winning and Grammy® nominated guitarist/composer and producer has long had a penchant for naming songs and albums after exotic places (“Aruba,” “Kenya,” “Morocco,” Weekend in Monaco, Sahara, et al).

But The Ripps’ latest Peak Records recording Cote D’Azur–inspired by Freeman’s passion for the French people and the storied region of the French Riviera—is more than simply the latest stamp on Freeman’s well traveled passport. Beyond simple wanderlust or a gathering of “musical postcards” from the Southern region of France, it taps into a spirit that’s deeper and more transcendent than any other group project to date.

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The Rippingtons – Modern Art

The Rippingtons are a formation with a high impact on the smooth jazz genre. No other group has gained such a great popularity in the last twenty years. Guitarist and band leader Russ Freeman formed the group in 1986. Current members beside Russ are Dave Karasony (drums), Bill Heller (piano), Ricardo ‘Rico’ Belled (bass) and in addition a sax player.

Eric Marienthal, Paul Taylor, Jeff Kashiwa, Brandon Fields, Dave Koz and Kenny G were all former members of the group. On the new album Jeff Kashiwa returns to the project. While the group played on their earlier albums contemporary or fusion jazz they have performed since 1999 more smooth jazz.

Obvious reason for this development was the previous success and prosperity of this genre. Some critics awaited with the 18th album a return of the group to the contemporary jazz scene. Although the new album is a step to more ambivalence, which is certainly a positive aspect, The Rippingtons are still a band listening to the audience and the market.

All songs were composed, produced and arranged by Russ Freeman. He had even hands on the mixing and recording process. Russ explained in an interview with Shannon West his strong influence: “This time I decided that what I would submit to them was the finished guitar tracks. All the guitar tracks were completely done first and they played to them.”

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