"I want to use the space of my "Week end in Monaco" review to point out a strange and quite curious thinking habit going on among Jazz fans, Jazz purists in particular (purist people, the dullest persons of them all). A lot of them, the true purists, tend to think that if a musical expression is old, hard, edged, dissonant, awkward is good and on the opposite they disdain modern Jazz melodic music as easy, commercial, stupid and unvaluable. Well I, as a Jazz musician myself, consider this attitude an incredible short sighted way of judging music. A musical expression could have value or not in both cases. It is not a problem of dissonat melodic lines and harmonies or consonant ones. A lot of strange, dissonant, avant garde Jazz is pure trash and the same can be said about a lot of easy, smooth jazz. The real truth is that you can find extremely good music in both styles, if you want to categorize them. I surely enjoy both and have the greatest respect for the best examples of both these kinds of Jazz. I find stellar Mingus's music which is quite particular in some cases and I simply adore pure bebop hard things from the forties but at the same time I love Rippington's music which is apparently simple in its shape but it is sure extremely well written a musically deep. I really think that the purist thing is really dangerous for the music lover. If you are one, tend to be open and to listen to everything comes in sight, because chances are that you could find nice stuff here and there in every style imaginable. If you are a musician and want to be creative this is a rule to follow, not an advice. Keep in mind.Week end in Monaco is a monster album. It is one of the best in the Ripp's catalogue for what I am concerned. The music is the today really famous trademark Freeman melodic style. It is a music really sophisticated that sounds simple. This is one of the greatest accomplishments you could reach in music writing. Writing good memorable melodies, having nice arrangements, good sounds and a recognizable musical personality. In my opinion Russ put all these things in his albums. He stands among the best musicians when melodic Jazz time comes. He is up there among the best, Metheny (when he writes less complex stuff), George Benson (the soulful Benson), Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton and very few others. Go Russ!"
If only they could keep this up. . .
dpg2 | Central Texas, USA | 09/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review comes several years after the purchase of Weekend in Monaco. I have purchased all Rippingtons' releases from Moonlighting to Russ Freeman's current solo release of Drive and consider myself a strong fan. Russ has certainly experimented with numerous styles and unfortunately has never again captured the energy and passion found in Weekend. I caught the Rippingtons in concert at Brookhaven College in Dallas, TX and during a brief "master class" found that Russ Freeman provides little latitude as it pertains to creativity. He made it clear that he writes, arranges, and orchestrates the tunes to his taste and the only moments when personal creativity was allowed came in the brief solo breaks. Although this sounds negative, it worked to perfection on Weekend. This is a powerful example of how contemporary Jazz can appeal to the Rock lover or the traditional Jazz lover and I applaud the effort as it creates a bridge to discover new styles. Each tune is unique with driving rhythmic support and the arrangements showcase this fine ensemble. So why the qualifying comments? Russ has not come anywhere close to the overall quality and power of Weekend since its release. This is not by any means a slam to the other efforts, which have some bright moments, but Weekend and pre-Weekend CDs are superior. In my review of Topaz, I slammed the hip-hop feel that started to creep into many of the Rippingtons cuts as it made their music "cookie cutter" but this has dissipated. I find Russ Freeman as a guest artist on many CDs and always enjoy his influence but I do miss the energy found in Weekend. Buy and enjoy this incredible CD but be aware that the sound on newer releases may disappoint."
My favorite Rippingtons disc
dpg2 | 06/17/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this disc, especially the title cut. The energy of the tunes, the tight rhythms, and arrangements are outstanding. If you only buy one Rippingtons CD, make it this one."
Ah the memories...
J. Wallace | St. Louis, Missouri | 11/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a wierd little kid. On one hand, I listened to Nirvana and Soundgarden and loved them. But when i was home, in my nerdly kingdom of a room, I popped this CD in. Then, and only then was i truly happy. Painting my Games Workshop miniatures. You see, there's gotta be something about the Rippington's music to appeal to a kid with no jazz knowledge to speak of. Years later, free from potential ridicule, i can relax and listen to the Rippingtons and truly understand that music like this can provide an atmosphere, or motivate a mood.
Speaking to those of you who like mainstream music. If you want something more out of music, something more substantial and classy than the crap out there now, Weekend in Monaco is your portal. Just don't let your friends catch you listening to it."
The Albun to transition your kid from "Rock" to "JAZZ."
J. Wallace | 06/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I introduced my son to "Weekend at Monoco' and he immediately became a Jazz lover. The Rippingtons played multiple cuts from the album in concerts at the Beacon Theater and Lincoln Center in NYC. The audience,totally eclectic, was absorbed, stimulated and ecstatic. A must album for any music lover!"