THE RIPPINGTONS featuring RUSS FREEMAN


Forget the Jersey Shore. Traipsing through swank hotel bars on the French Riviera calls for a modern soundtrack and guitarist Russ Freeman offers a mostly effective one on “Cote D’Azur” (Peak Records). Waylaying his customary radio-ready smooth jazz sound, Freeman and his Rippingtons (saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, Rico Belled, Bill Heller and Dave Karasony) push deeper into electronica and mine the grooves of European lounge music for this trim set. The punchy compositions don’t break a sweat but the anthem-like title track, with its strobe light rhythmic licks and Mediterranean guitar, is as sticky as cotton candy. Synthetic flourishes abound on faux-global melodies like “Le Calypso” and “Passage To Marseilles,” while the clubby, late-night pop of “Rue Paradis” sounds like something out of a James Bond movie. It’s harmless background fare couched in fantasy and ether. (10 tracks; 40:15 minutes)
   

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JAZZ IN SPACE: THE RIPPINGTONS featuring RUSS FREEMAN

Saturday, January 29, 2011

THE RIPPINGTONS featuring RUSS FREEMAN


Forget the Jersey Shore. Traipsing through swank hotel bars on the French Riviera calls for a modern soundtrack and guitarist Russ Freeman offers a mostly effective one on “Cote D’Azur” (Peak Records). Waylaying his customary radio-ready smooth jazz sound, Freeman and his Rippingtons (saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, Rico Belled, Bill Heller and Dave Karasony) push deeper into electronica and mine the grooves of European lounge music for this trim set. The punchy compositions don’t break a sweat but the anthem-like title track, with its strobe light rhythmic licks and Mediterranean guitar, is as sticky as cotton candy. Synthetic flourishes abound on faux-global melodies like “Le Calypso” and “Passage To Marseilles,” while the clubby, late-night pop of “Rue Paradis” sounds like something out of a James Bond movie. It’s harmless background fare couched in fantasy and ether. (10 tracks; 40:15 minutes)
   

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