One of the most enduring and recognizable bands in the annals of smooth jazz anthology are The Rippingtons. Founded in 1987 by Russ Freeman, this phenomenal group has stood the test of longevity and have remained popular throughout their existence. Their very first release entitled 'Moonlighting was voted the #1 Most Influential Contemporary Jazz Album of all time by Jazziz magazine. Over the last 16 years, The Rippingtons have consistently charted on smooth jazz charts everywhere. Their latest CD entitled 'Let It Ripp' on the Peak Record Label is their 15th release overall. As has been seen on previous recordings, this CD is filled with the energetic qualities The Rippingtons have become most noted for.
'Let It Ripp' is the first studio album The Rippingtons have recorded in three years. This CD is extremely vibrant and is the culmination of all the positive live energy the group has exhibited throughout their history, except on this particular outing, they are doing what they do best in the studio. In a live concert setting, the chemistry between the members of The Rippingtons is incredible and intoxicating; as such, 'Let It Ripp' exhibits that same level of energy. The basic premise behind this album is the intensity of the rhythm section. With Kim Stone on bass and Dave Karasony on drums, the interactive mix between the two has a charismatic impact on the band as a whole. Each percussive beat gels strategically with the melodies and harmonic influences Russ Freeman consistently looks for when performing and recording.
Saxophonist Eric Marienthal was invited to fill in the gaps that was left by the departure of Jeff Kashiwa. With Eric on board, The Rippingtons do not miss a beat on the melodic side of things. Many of their fans thought erroneously that a piece would be missing without Kashiwa; however, anyone who has followed the group over the years know all to well that Russ compensates well for the loss of any member. During their time together, Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons have seen numerous personnel changes, including the loss of Kenny G at one point in time. Their enduring spirit continues to be the one influence that has managed to sustain the group over time. 'Let It Ripp' is just another piece of the puzzle The Rippingtons have employed to make another impactful statement. Most of the timeless albums Russ Freeman has managed to ramrod, has continued a tradition that smooth jazz aficionados have come to know and enjoy.