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The album that started it all! The debut release of guitarist/composer Russ Freeman that led to the creation of THE RIPPINGTONS, one of the most successful contemporary pop/jazz groups of the 80's & 90's. Out of circulati... more »
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The album that started it all! The debut release of guitarist/composer Russ Freeman that led to the creation of THE RIPPINGTONS, one of the most successful contemporary pop/jazz groups of the 80's & 90's. Out of circulation for over 2 years, this classic album features fellow Rippingtons Brandon Fields (sax) and Steve Reid (percussion). A "must have" for all Rippingtons fans.
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(5 out of 5 stars)
"While many traditional jazz fans snub their noses at the smooth jazz genre, I appreciate it for what it is. Like it or not, this CD was ahead of its time, despite the fact Freeman practically plays every instrument throughout the production. But he truly was a pioneer for the guitar synthesizer, which unfortunately quickly became passe much like other notable fads of the 1980s, to include layered clothing and big hair. Rippingtons fans are surely familar with the smooth jazz standard "She Likes to Watch," which appeared on the Rippingtons Moonlighting CD, released one year after Freeman's debut solo effort. While the song has withstood the test of time, Freeman's unmatched use of the guitar synthesizer unfortunately has not. For those unfamiliar with the sound of the guitar synthesizer, compare the guitar solos of the studio version with the live version of "She Likes to Watch" on the Rippingtons Live in LA CD. Freeman essentially closed the book on this sound altogether with the Rippingtons cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," which appears on the Tourist in Paradise CD.
As for Nocturnal Playground, I am drawn to "Polo in the Palisades,"What She Really Wants," and "Amelia," which are three of the more mellow tracks on the CD. Nonetheless, they are emblematic of Freeman's adept fusion of guitar and synthesizer. The result is a soothing, distant yet vibrant sound that makes you think of a clear blue sky and a gentle warm breeze while driving through a torential downpour.
There is good news for those looking for this rare OOP CD. ITunes offers it in its entirety. While it's not CD-quality, it sure beats the alternatives: Not having it at all, or spending lots of time and money to find it."