The Rippingtons - Modern Art
Eric Marienthal, Paul Taylor, Jeff Kashiwa, Brandon Fields, Dave Koz and Kenny G were all former members of the group. On the new album Jeff Kashiwa returns to the project. While the group played on their earlier albums contemporary or fusion jazz they have performed since 1999 more smooth jazz.
Obvious reason for this development was the previous success and prosperity of this genre. Some critics awaited with the 18th album a return of the group to the contemporary jazz scene. Although the new album is a step to more ambivalence, which is certainly a positive aspect, The Rippingtons are still a band listening to the audience and the market.
All songs were composed, produced and arranged by Russ Freeman. He had even hands on the mixing and recording process. Russ explained in an interview with Shannon West his strong influence: "This time I decided that what I would submit to them was the finished guitar tracks. All the guitar tracks were completely done first and they played to them."
Russ Freeman entitled the
first track and his album Modern Art after his interest in modern
arts. "I love the works of Franz Kline and Kandinsky. I like the Hudson
River School style of Thomas Cole and Albert Bierstadt, and the vintage
poster style of Roger Broders," comments Russ. "Whether it's music, art,
web design, photography, I love it all. I study hard and Iím going for
it." So consider his music as kind of a master piece. Jeff Kashiwa and
Russ Freeman are guarantors for the continuity of the signature
With Pastels On Canvas Russ picks up again the artistically aspect of his music. Russ delivers some Flamenco flavors while Jeff adds the smooth jazz elements. One Step Closer is the band's approach to more live sound. A propelling part of the song is Rico Belled's bass. Rico is an experienced musician who already performed with artists like Gregg Karukas, Eric Marienthal, Steve Lukather and more.
I Still Believe is Russ defiant answer against all odds. Love can heal and solve so much problems. Russ and Yaredt Leon show the way with this beautiful ballade. Body Art is the funky alternative with Jeff's creative sax solo and Russ' energetic guitar riffs drifting into the rock phrase. Keep that on air!
Age Of Reason showcases the romantic and melodic side of the group with a beautiful pairing of Russ on acoustic guitar and Kashiwa's sax. Bill Heller paints some awesome harmonies on his keys.
Yaredt Leon is married with Russ Freeman. Initial for this come together was their collaboration on Wild Card which is now also the prolific ground for their collaboration on this album. Yaredt composed Sweet Lullaby. She is designated for such sweet melodies.
Jet Set is the musical expression of an almost perfect balance between easiness and depth for its time. Bill Heller and Russ Freeman concur with terrific solos. Love Story is featuring Rick Braun on muted trumpet. He is a master of this instrument and I would like his voice on Sade's next album which is scheduled for this year.
comprises the essence of what smooth jazz is and should be all about.
Captivating melodies wrapped in a perfect musical package that's what the
audience wants and The Rippingtons blissfully deliver.