Rippingtons albums generally reflect some sort of theme and this time is no exception as the veteran contemporary-jazz band travels to South Beach for the delightfully high-spirited, Latin-tinged Wild Card. Guitarist and group leader Russ Freeman typically writes most of the Rippingtons’ music, but he collaborated with several composers on this outing. The band’s faithful need not worry, however-Freeman’s trademark catchy melodies are still amply represented. “El Vacilon,” a standout track Freeman cowrote with songwriter Yaredt Leon features a fiery vocal performance by Cuban singing star Albita and background vocals by members of the multicultural outfit Ozomatli.
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