Rippingtons: Let It Ripp

Let It Ripp (Peak), the Rippingtons’ first studio album in three years, finds the veteran smooth-jazz band digging into leader-guitarist Russ Freeman’s trademark catchy, melodic compositions with alacrity. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal, who has toured with the Rippingtons for the past couple of years, is out front on Let It Ripp, and he provides a strong melodic voice and effective counterpart to Freeman’s guitar.

The anthemic title track sets the tone for the album, but there’s a lot of stylistic diversity here. Freeman turns in some lovely acoustic guitar work on the delicate, Latin-inflected “A Private Getaway,” while Marienthal waxes lyrical on “Avalon,” his saxophone shaded by keyboardist Bill Heller’s organ. “High Life” and “Stingray” are horn-spiced, high-energy, soul-jazz jams, while “Get Over It” opens with Freeman’s reference to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile,” then morphs into a cool, atmospheric number powered by a lightly reggae-influenced rhythm. Spirited and eminently enjoyable, Let It Ripp is sure to please the legions of Rippingtons faithful.