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The Rippingtons: 20 Years of Ripping

The Rippingtons
The Rippingtons

For the Rippingtons’ 20th-anniversary release, leader Russ Freeman could have rerecorded his favorite songs or simply offered new material. Instead, he decided to do both. New material dominates The Rippingtons 20th Anniversary, a combination CD and DVD, featuring videos, live performances and other special features. “We wanted to offer something special,” says Freeman. “After a lot of thought, we decided wanted mostly new material instead of revisiting all the old material. But we still wanted to give a nod out to some of the hits that we’ve had. So we decided to create a medley and to have the original people that played on them come back and play.”

That they did, over the course of a week at Castle Oaks Recording in Calabasas, Calif. For nine new songs, former Rippingtons on board included Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum, David Benoit, Gregg Karukas, Brandon Fields, Eric Marienthal and Steve Reid. In addition, saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa and vocalist Jeffrey Osborne joined Whalum and Fields in a medley of nine of the Rippingtons’ most popular songs, including “Tourist in Paradise,” “I’ll Be Around,” “Curves Ahead” and “Black Diamond.” Smooth crooner Brian McKnight also wrote and sang on a new song called “Anything,” accompanied by Freeman on classical guitar.

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