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Nocturnal Playground


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Audio CD, April 10, 1986
$89.90
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Editorial Reviews

The album that started it all! The debut release of guitarist/composer Russ Freeman that led to the creation of THE RIPPINGTONS, one of the most successful contemporary pop/jazz groups of the 80's & 90's. Out of circulation for over 2 years, this classic album features fellow Rippingtons Brandon Fields (sax) and Steve Reid (percussion). A "must have" for all Rippingtons fans.

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Nocturnal Playground 6:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Polo in the Palisades 5:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. What She Really Wants 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Jamaican Nights 5:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Easter Island 5:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Moving Violation 5:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Amelia 4:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Paradise Cove 4:37$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 1986)
  • Original Release Date: April 10, 1986
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Brainchild
  • ASIN: B00000JGBL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,545 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By George Russell Jr. on January 4, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard the track "Moving Violation" on the Weather Channel back in 1987, when they would play the track during local forecasts. Of course, back then, there was no way for me to find out who exactly the artist was. Then, in 1991, I heard the song again, and this time, I heard that it was indeed Russ Freeman who played it. It became my favorite song! But since then, I have been totally unsuccessful in locating it. I tried every cd store, used cd store, you name it. But then, someone suggested Amazon.com. I thought she was joking. But I logged on, and BOOM! There it was! This is a great CD for any one who enjoys smooth saxaphone jazz/adult contemporary music. 3 cheers for Amazon.com!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jazzcat on March 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The fact that this album started a trend in music is a prove of its strenght. It doesn't matter that the easy Jazz trend that was born after this album produced some kitsch and untalented music in the years that followed. Russ's arrangements were visionary and quite original at that time. And this is the right perspective to judge this album. Time perspective. It has been an important album in the last 25 years of music history. Why don't agree on this? I find this album extremely well written and entertaining even if I'm a real Jazz cat. I don't compare Russ's music to pure Jazz but I find in his music a lot of talent in melody writing, arrangement and chord sequencing. I am a musician and from a musician's perspective having a musical personality, being immediatly recognizable is a mark of talent. And Russ surely is recognizable and surely has a lot of talent as a musician, arranger and writer. Sure, in the years that followed Nocturnal Playground he wrote more or less 15 albums on the same canvas being repetitive to say the least. But nevertheless I am still considering Russ a very talented musician and I'm always happy when a new album of his come out just because I'm curious to see how he succedeed (or not) in reinventing himself and his trademark melodies. But this album is where it all began. Some guys point out Moonlighting as the best album in the Ripp's catalogue. I don't agree. I don't like very much that album and surely I'm considering this one far superior. I's a very rare album. I didn't have the opportunity to buy it at a reasonable price (it's out of print and on the used market it goes around 100 dollars!!!), so p2p saved me and gave me the opportunity to own this one. I think it's a great, great album in its own right. Why comparing Nocturnal Playground to real Jazz or to more deep music? It's not, but it contains some tremendous well written, melodical and catching music.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By js4play on September 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is what started it all for me. The 1st track that inspired me to buy this is "JAMAICAN NIGHTS". I think this is still one of his best works. Russ' use of his guitar synthesizer is the best by any composer. This is a great cd to have in your car, home and office. Relaxing and stimulating. This is a must for any "RIPPINGTONS" fan. Believe me, you won't be disappointed. I've been looking for this cd for years, and everytime I went to a music store I got the same reply; NO LONGER MADE! Talk about frustration. My hat goes off to you, AMAZON, for making one of my dreams a reality. Thank you. I will definitely use your service for my other needs, as well as wants.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The genesis of the Rippingtons. Out of print. Get it while you can. You won't be sorry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AC Tones on October 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While many traditional jazz fans snub their noses at the smooth jazz genre, I appreciate it for what it is. Like it or not, this CD was ahead of its time, despite the fact Freeman practically plays every instrument throughout the production. But he truly was a pioneer for the guitar synthesizer, which unfortunately quickly became passe much like other notable fads of the 1980s, to include layered clothing and big hair. Rippingtons fans are surely familar with the smooth jazz standard "She Likes to Watch," which appeared on the Rippingtons Moonlighting CD, released one year after Freeman's debut solo effort. While the song has withstood the test of time, Freeman's unmatched use of the guitar synthesizer unfortunately has not. For those unfamiliar with the sound of the guitar synthesizer, compare the guitar solos of the studio version with the live version of "She Likes to Watch" on the Rippingtons Live in LA CD. Freeman essentially closed the book on this sound altogether with the Rippingtons cover of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," which appears on the Tourist in Paradise CD.

As for Nocturnal Playground, I am drawn to "Polo in the Palisades,"What She Really Wants," and "Amelia," which are three of the more mellow tracks on the CD. Nonetheless, they are emblematic of Freeman's adept fusion of guitar and synthesizer. The result is a soothing, distant yet vibrant sound that makes you think of a clear blue sky and a gentle warm breeze while driving through a torential downpour.

There is good news for those looking for this rare OOP CD. ITunes offers it in its entirety. While it's not CD-quality, it sure beats the alternatives: Not having it at all, or spending lots of time and money to find it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cryptic Writings on March 18, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Many people who discovered Rippingtons in 90's or recent years, they probably havent heard this record. I was lucky to got this cd many years ago and get it signed by Freeman himself. I'm not good at describing track by track on detail but all I could say, if you like the first 4-5 records by Rippingtons especially Moonlightning, Kilimanjaro and Welcome to St James club , then you're going to like this one.

...and no, it doesnt have any spanish influence like the last few Rippingtons albums or Freeman later solo records.
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