Open Road

Story By
Jim Gorjy

The Rippingtons feat. Russ Freeman

The band at the forefront of the contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, and instrumental pop music genres is back as Russ Freeman has steered the band into an up-to-the-minute, sonic territory that actually works with this album. While a tougher sound has been developed, there are still songs filled with jazz-fusion warmness and the great melodies that hearken back. The band fully embraces the creative energy of their early days whilst doing something new. Things start to warm up nicely about four tracks in. Silver Arrows is a fairly typical opener, upbeat and joyful with some great guitar and Lost Highways and Travels Among the Ruins are perfectly attuned to the vibe of the album. In particular, Travels Among The Ruins has some nice spacey synths. The title track is experimental yet somehow soothing but perhaps the best two tracks are Gran Via that comes very close to their early 90's sound, and Tangerine Skyline, a straight up fusion piece with high energy drumming and a nifty riff. There's this great duplicity of jazzy sax and guitar when Russ and Brandon solo back and forth. The band leader, Russ Freeman, has a clear passion for creating electric soundscapes, and using his film scoring background to create beautiful, emotionally charged music, full of bass and drums and the right amount of saxophone. This could be the perfect Rippingtons album.