Rippingtons – Let It Ripp

Let It Ripp
(Peak – 2003)
by Ray Redmond

The sound is distinctive from the very first (and title) song, but then band leader Russ Freeman’s style has shaped the Rippingtons for a long time. The obvious Latin flavor on the last release, Life in the Tropics, was a refreshing adaptation of their classic sound. Disappointingly, this CD is a return to the good old comfy Rippingtons. A good CD, but it doesn’t quite reach the promised land that I thought the previous album was heading for. That being said, this is a pretty GOOD regular Rippingtons CD. The addition of a real horn section, arranged by the great Jerry Hey and featuring sax man Eric Marienthal adds a lot of punch to the CD. This is very noticable on the upbeat 17 Mile Drive, my favorite track on this CD. Another gem is the funk-tinged Stingray with it’s smooth guitar/horn collaborations.

Lucky Charm falls more into Marienthal’s realm of smooth jazz, melodic and medium paced. Avalon is slower, with a gospel influence and again benefitting from the presence of Marienthal’s horn. Get Over It closes the CD with a Jamaican flavor, another hidden gem on this ‘regular’ Rippingtons CD. Although it would have been nice to get a couple of tracks with the ‘Russ Freeman’ flavor we got on his solo CD, on the whole this is a very listenable release, and better than the last ‘regular’ rippingtons CD. I hope the next one continues the musical growth and re-infuses more of that Latin stuff they were doing last year.