20th Anniversary

20th Anniversary

by The RippingtonsThe Rippingtons




Russ Freeman probably had no clue that he was starting a revolution when he put together a new band called the Rippingtons in 1986, but the advent of smooth jazz can be directly traced to the release of that band's debut Moonlighting album the following year. Some jazz purists may never forgive him for that, but Freeman and the group, having weathered numerous personnel changes, still reign within the genre and have every reason to celebrate. Hence this 20th Anniversary CD/DVD package, which finds Freeman, the guitarist/keyboardist who has been the sole mainstay throughout the decades, calling on a virtual army of past and present members to assist him in creating a fitting monument to his accomplishments. The legions who've followed the Rippingtons will know what to expect here: impeccably performed, perfectly enjoyable, occasionally stimulating pop-jazz without an out-of-place atonal squawk or honk in sight. What makes 20th Anniversary a standout is the parade of guests, among them most of the Moonlighting crew (except, thankfully, for Kenny G.) -- pianist David Benoit, drummer Tony Morales, saxophonist Brandon Fields, and percussionist Steve Reid -- and visiting saxophonists Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum, both of whom bring their distinctive wails to Freeman's compositions. Although the album is largely instrumental, a few vocalists, including Patti Austin and Jeffrey Osborne, take turns, and Brian McKnight has virtually all of the track "Anything" to himself, save for Freeman's classical guitar. It is, in the end, Freeman's guitar work that remains the main draw, though: technically proficient, he always manages to bring an emotionalism, albeit sometimes muted, to the proceedings, even if he sometimes seems as if he's aching to break out and try something truly daring and never quite does. One oddball moment: track 11, simply titled "A 20th Anniversary Bonus," suddenly and inexplicably morphs into the Spinners' '70s R&B hit "I'll Be Around," sung by Osborne, before the CD closes out. A separate retrospective DVD accompanies the audio disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/25/2006
Label: Peak Records
UPC: 0888072300002
catalogNumber: 30000

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rippingtons   Primary Artist
Patti Austin   Vocals
Gregg Karukas   Piano,Keyboards
Dave Koz   Soprano Saxophone
Steve Reid   Percussion
Brian McKnight   Multi Instruments
David Benoit   Piano
Brandon Fields   Saxophone
Gary Grant   Trumpet
Bill Heller   Organ,Keyboards,fender rhodes
Jerry Hey   Trumpet
Dave Karasony   Drums
Jeff Kashiwa   Saxophone
Eric Marienthal   Saxophone
Tony Morales   Drums
Jeffrey Osborne   Vocals
Kim Stone   Bass
Kirk Whalum   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach   Trombone
Jimmy Johnson   Bass
Russ Freeman   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Synthesizer Guitar,Classical Guitar

Technical Credits

Gregg Karukas   Arranger
Brian McKnight   Composer,Producer
Steve Sykes   Engineer
Mark Wexler   Executive Producer
Bill Mayer   Illustrations
Andi Howard   Executive Producer
Marko Ruffalo   Engineer
Chris Wood   Engineer
Russ Freeman   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,Author

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