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Rippingtons, The: Modern Art

Contemporary jazz mainstays The Rippingtons have released their 18th effort with Modern Art, a smooth jazz collection of new tunes that will please aficionados of this genre.

Headed by founding member Russ Freeman, The Rippingtons have added a new line up including Dave Karasony, Rico Belled, Bill Heller and guest sax player Jeff Kashiwa. What make this CD a standout from their previous releases is the infusion of non-western music modes and tones within their contemporary style. The opening and title track uncharacteristically features acoustic guitar underlay with great interplay between the acoustic lead guitar and sax lines of Freeman and Kashiwa respectively. "Black Book" features a smoky and sultry backdrop firmly cemented in a righteous groove. Freeman's sitar work is precise and effective in adding an eastern flavor to the piece. My favorite piece is "Age of Reason." The acoustic passage at the beginning sets the stage for the rest of song interesting arrangements and atypical chord progressions are augmented by lilting and airy melody lines from Freeman and Kashiwa. A Latin drenched "Sweet Lullaby" features fantastic nylon string guitar that is both haunting and soothing.

The Rippingtons have had a celebrated tenure since 1986 when they first broke the scene. They had done a great job of building upon the success in an genre that is quite saturated with imitators. I believe Freeman's choice of continually refreshing the band lineup is a factor that helps the sustainability. Unfortunately, I think this type of jazz gets a bad wrap as the energy of their live presence is never fully transferred to a produced entity. You lose the moniker of "Smooth Jazz" in their live setting when the environment influences the music quite directly. Go see these guys live!

Track Listing
1. Modern Art
2. Paris Groove
3. Black Book
4. Pastels On Canvas
5. One Step Closer
6. I Still Believe
7. Body Art
8. Age Of Reason
9. Sweet Lullaby
10. Jet Set
11. Love Story

Added: March 19th 2009
Reviewer: Jon Rice
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1934
Language: english

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