10 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Rippingtons have a long-established reputation as a smooth jazz outfit. But here on the band’s 20th album, leader Russ Freeman has created what he calls a “guitar heaven” album, and he’s not kidding. Loosely based on folks like explorer Ponce de Leon searching for a fountain of youth, the album’s songs travel searchingly in a different direction, with Freeman using various axes (including ukulele, mandolin, and Turkish bağlama) to transport us. Those who want something more straight-down-the-middle smooth can turn to “Soul Riders” or “North Shore,” though you can still hear plenty of laid-back shredding even here. But it’s the opener, “Spice Route,” that really sets the tone with a mix of modern and traditional, Eastern and Western sounds. Touching on flamenco, “River of Gold” follows while referencing the Spanish origins of many of those explorers. The Far East is where the band takes us on “We Will Live Forever,” while “The Sun King” finds Freeman at his most flashy. To those who complain that all smooth jazz sounds the same and doesn’t have chops: this one's for you.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Rippingtons have a long-established reputation as a smooth jazz outfit. But here on the band’s 20th album, leader Russ Freeman has created what he calls a “guitar heaven” album, and he’s not kidding. Loosely based on folks like explorer Ponce de Leon searching for a fountain of youth, the album’s songs travel searchingly in a different direction, with Freeman using various axes (including ukulele, mandolin, and Turkish bağlama) to transport us. Those who want something more straight-down-the-middle smooth can turn to “Soul Riders” or “North Shore,” though you can still hear plenty of laid-back shredding even here. But it’s the opener, “Spice Route,” that really sets the tone with a mix of modern and traditional, Eastern and Western sounds. Touching on flamenco, “River of Gold” follows while referencing the Spanish origins of many of those explorers. The Far East is where the band takes us on “We Will Live Forever,” while “The Sun King” finds Freeman at his most flashy. To those who complain that all smooth jazz sounds the same and doesn’t have chops: this one's for you.

TITLE TIME

More By The Rippingtons

You May Also Like