So this time i’m gonna write about a group that in a way isn’t a group, whatever i mean with that…don’t worry i’m gonna set the record straight. As the headline says they’re called The Rippingtons. This is the thing that dozens of musicians have played either on their albums or tours or both. The band was founded in 1985 as a kind of collective with open doors where members are free to come and go as they wish more or less. The founder, leader, main composer is guitarist Russ Freeman.
He is the only one who has been within “the band” since 1986, well his band so no surprise. As a kid in the 1960:s just like many many others he grew up loving the music of The Beatles and when the news reached him that they had split up he was totally heartbroken. It was like his entire world just collapsed in one single moment. There and then Russ decided that if he ever would have band of his own he would let people come and go after their own desires. The reason for this, maybe a little odd decision, was that he never ever wanted to feel the same way again he felt when The Beatles split up. A band can become real tight like a family of it’s own and if that “family” all of a sudden would no longer be then it can be very very emotional.
The Rippingtons early 90:s left to right top row: Marc Portland (keyboards), Kim Stone (bass). Front row: Tony Morales (drums), Jeff Kashiwa (alto, tenor sax, EWI), Russ Freeman (guitar), Steve Reid (percussion)
So now you know what i meant with if it’s a band or not but back to the group, founded in 1985 as i already mentioned. The band’s debut album came the year after and was called Moonlightning, see picture below, and has many at that time quite unknown musicians but very famous in mostly contemporary/smooth jazz circles. We got pianists Gregg Karrukas, David Benoit, sax men Dave Koz, Brandon Fields, Kenny G to name a few. I’m aware that you may not recognize any of these names and it’s ok but keep in mind that each one of these guys have made lots of records under their own name. What i’m trying to say is that they are very well established today.
Just like metal veterans Iron Maiden has their Eddie mascot Rippingtons have a blue, grinning, sunglasses-wearing, jazz cat which appears in the artwork of all the band’s releases and on their official website. Their music is mostly quite easy listened contemporary/smooth jazz or if you will pop jazz and offcourse many times very slick, well produced and arranged. Many of the most like famous jazz/fusion/smooth jazz cats today have played with or been a member of The Rippingtons. Are they still playing or have they quit, no they’re very much alive, last album came last year and this year they’re out on a 30th anniversary tour.
The Rippingtons of today.
Ok finally the song then…it’s a favorite tune of mine with Rippingtons and it’s taken from the Let It Ripp album from 2003 and the song is also called Let It Ripp!, see pic below, and it features Eric Marienthal on alto sax and some old friends here Jerry Hey and his horn section.
Enjoy your listening!!
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #therippingtons #russfreeman #thebeatles #marcportland #kimstone #tonymorales #jeffkashiwa #stevereid #greggkarrukas #davidbenoit #davekoz #brandonfields #kennyg #ironmaiden #eddiethemascot #ericmarienthal #jerryhey