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Life In The Tropics

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Album Review

Life in the Tropics — the first Peak Records release for the Rippingtons — features guitarist Russ Freeman and is a great smooth jazz celebration of rhythmic delights that resemble the tropical splendor of an island oasis. The natural beauty of each composition is reflected by the great talents of the Rippingtons: Kim Stone on bass, Dave Kochanski on keyboards, Ramon Yslas on percussion, and Dave Hooper on drums, along with special guests the great saxophonists Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal, and Paul Taylor, keyboardist Bob James, and guitarist Peter White. The centerpiece of this CD is "Love Child," a sensuous mid-tempo ballad that alternates the brilliant sax work of Marienthal and Taylor as Freeman strums an emotional string sonnet under soulful synths and keyboards. The romantic vocals of Howard Hewitt on "I Found Heaven" invite you to rediscover his intense passion for a great love ballad. Its lyrics convey the excellent songwriting abilities of Freeman and Gary Brown and their ability to connect to the emotional melorhythms of the listener. The fresh sounds revealed on Life in the Tropics are sure to please you because of their melodic elements, rhythms, brass, and great guitar of Russ Freeman.

Biography

Formed: 1987

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most popular groups in what is loosely termed "contemporary jazz," the Rippingtons were formed (and have been led ever since) by guitarist/keyboardist Russ Freeman (no relation to the veteran West Coast bop pianist of the same name). Freeman (born February 11, 1960, in Nashville) studied at Cal Arts and UCLA, and recorded Nocturnal Playground as a leader in 1985 for the Brainchild label, a one-man project. In 1987, he was approached to record for the Japanese Alfa label and came up with...
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Life In The Tropics, The Rippingtons
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