Rippingtons show they're "Built to Last" on Aug. 28

(Los Angeles, CA Aug. 14, 2012) In the early 80s, a few years before Russ Freeman gathered a bunch of his L.A. musician friends to create the groundbreaking Rippingtons debut Moonlighting, the multi-talented guitarist and composer studied film scoring at UCLA and spent time on TV soundstages and at recording studios listening to orchestras play. On the Ripps’ new Peak Records/eOne album Built To Last, Freeman comes full circle from those days, working with orchestral textures for the first time and opening up new dam bursts of creativity that transcend all expectations of what a Ripps project can be.

(Los Angeles, CA Aug. 14, 2012) In the early 80s, a few years before Russ Freeman gathered a bunch of his L.A. musician friends to create the groundbreaking Rippingtons debut Moonlighting, the multi-talented guitarist and composer studied film scoring at UCLA and spent time on TV soundstages and at recording studios listening to orchestras play. On the Ripps’ new Peak Records/eOne album Built To Last, Freeman comes full circle from those days, working with orchestral textures for the first time and opening up new dam bursts of creativity that transcend all expectations of what a Ripps project can be.

Celebrating one of contemporary jazz’s most enduring legacies—a quarter century plus journey that includes nearly 20 albums and an ever evolving flow of band members—Freeman keeps his trademark melodies front and center but breaks all the stylistic rules on a set that includes a swirl of all the musical forces that define his life: pop, symphonic rock, classical/chamber music, country, ambient/chill, jazz fusion and even heavy metal, courtesy of an incendiary solo by Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society electric guitarist Zakk Wylde. The track listing offers a hint at just how far and gloriously Freeman ventures off the beaten path. Complementing the 11 basic songs is a lush classical guitar/orchestra reprise of the title cut “Built To Last” and orchestral bonus renditions of four other key tracks.

Bill Mayer’s famed animated jazz cat has graced every Ripps album cover, appearing in an environment that thematically reflects the musical vibe of the collection. By replacing Teddy Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore on the cover art of Built To Last, he falls perfectly in line with Freeman’s bold musical vision and establishes the band as a part of American history. As the multi-talented performer explains in his liner notes that also explain the essence of each song, two significant life altering events were the impetus behind his desire to start the next quarter century with a whole new twist. One is The Ripps crossing their 25th Anniversary milestone in 2011. The second is even more personal. His beloved sister Pamela—who Freeman says he “tortured” most growing up with his incessant guitar practicing--was diagnosed with breast cancer a week after a family get together in San Francisco, about the time Freeman had started composing these songs. At a time he was feeling musically more courageous than ever, she was showing him the truer meaning of the word. Built To Last is dedicated to Pamela “with utmost love and affection.”

"When The Ripps crossed the 25 year mark,” Freeman says, “it felt like a dream because I never would have believed we’d still be around, making great music and having so many loyal fans that have been the key to our success. I always want to give them my best, and I had this epiphany that we really need to do something different—and that involved throwing a curveball, going out of the regular mission statement of the band and breaking a lot of rules. As it turned out, that curveball wound up smashing quite a few windows! Sonically it’s also radically different for a Ripps project. I did some orchestral arrangements on my collaboration albums with David Benoit, but this is a first for the band. Growing up, I always thought

I was going to pursue film scoring as a career—but happily for me, all the wonderful musicians I’ve worked with and our fans, fate intervened and I was blessed with this amazing group. Now, as we start the next quarter century, it’s time to broaden the palette and increase the dynamic range.”

While Built To Last is all about Freeman and The Rippingtons moving forward into uncharted territory, their story thus far is one for the musical ages. Perhaps the most amazing part of their journey is that after the unexpected success of Moonlighting, Russ Freeman—who had released a successful solo album, Nocturnal Playground, in 1985--was still on the fence regarding whether to pursue a career as a solo artist or become the full-time leader of a band. “I knew I couldn’t have both,” he says, “and I weighed the ups and downs of both potential choices. But I think my heart was telling me all along to do the band. There were so many more facets I could explore in a band situation than I could on my own.”

 With Moonlighting paving the way, The Rippingtons dominated the contemporary jazz landscape from the late 80s on with their hit recordings KilimanjaroTourist in ParadiseWelcome to the St. James ClubCurves AheadWeekend In MonacoLive in L.A., SaharaBrave New WorldBlack Diamond TopazLive Across AmericaLife in the TropicsLet It Ripp! Wild Card20th AnniversaryModern Art and Cote d’Azur. Freeman also recorded two dual albums with David Benoit, the solo albums Holidayand Drive, and collaborated with Craig Chaquico on From the Redwoods to the Rockiesin 1998.

  “Just as the most exciting part of The Rippingtons over the years has been working with so many talented musicians and getting to know our fans,” Freeman says, “my favorite aspect of working on Built To Last was rising to the challenge of creating orchestral arrangements that fit in with the new music I was writing. I also learned about the value of silence in a composition, and when to let the music simply breathe. We’re all very excited to bring this new music to our fans. It’s an exhilarating time for everyone!”

 A Rippingtons 25th Anniversary Tour will begin in the fall of 2012, dates TBA shortly.

To hear music, download CD artwork and additional information click here.

 

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