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49 Reviews
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brave New World Redux
The Rippingtons "Wild Card" experience is full of irony. On this release, Russ Freeman continues to produce what he does best serving up lush and layered jazz instrumental arrangements anchored by a healthy dose of his legendary guitar playing; these are hallmarks of the Rippingtons sound.

Along with new and original tunes, the Rippingtons introduce the...
Published on November 27, 2005 by Daniel Rutkowski

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ripped Apart
I've been a Rippingtons fan since 1990. It seems that with each new CD, the magic quality of the band has been slowly coming apart. Its almost as if the smooth jazz genre has morphed into this latin, "Saturday Night Live" band, R&B groove thing!! What happened? The real drums and the clear, crisp recordings of "Wild Card" are a step in the right direction. But what...
Published on July 15, 2005 by Paul Binder


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ripped Apart, July 15, 2005
By 
Paul Binder (Clermont, Fl USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
I've been a Rippingtons fan since 1990. It seems that with each new CD, the magic quality of the band has been slowly coming apart. Its almost as if the smooth jazz genre has morphed into this latin, "Saturday Night Live" band, R&B groove thing!! What happened? The real drums and the clear, crisp recordings of "Wild Card" are a step in the right direction. But what happened to the soothing sound of "Snowbound"? The warm, relaxing nocturnal feel of "One Summer Night in Brazil"? "Weekend in Monaco", where you could let the whole CD play from start to finish because there was a gratifying, musical continuity to it. I really hope that Russ will consider going back to his roots for his next project.Maybe, even consider letting Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Reid, or Tony Morales collaborate on a song or two. I realize even in music, things change, bands grow and evolve, but I miss the Rippingtons of the early 1990's. In the early days, the Rippingtons had a specific, definite signature sound. It seems to me, over the last couple of efforts, its been Ripped apart.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Something worse than Let it Ripp?, August 8, 2005
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
I didn't think the Ripps would release anything worse than Let it Ripp, but I was wrong. Wild Card is essentially an adequate CD, but truly a poor performance for the Ripps. When compared to earlier works such as Moonlighting and Welcome to the St James Club, the last two CDs are a complete wash. And what's the deal with the excessive latin leanings on this CD? It's extremely forced and really brings the album down a notch. The latin grooves were great on Life in the Tropics, but it doesn't work at all on Wild Card. I own every Rippingtons CD, but I feel this disaster may be my last contribution to Russ' retirement.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Going Downhill- where is the creativity???, October 7, 2005
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
Wild Card was a disappointment with two songs out of the entire album. I have all of the other Rippington albums and this is the worst one to date. The Latin Theme drowns out any creativity that came with other efforts. My brand new copy is going out on Amazon and get what I can out of it. Strike off another artist/group that I buy a new release without checking the tracks first....what a disappointment!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars only so much wine in the bottle, May 25, 2005
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
There just doesn't seem to be much hope for more Rippingtons material. Take this CD and listen to it 10 times through then try to remember one melody. You can't. Now take one of the CD's from the Rippington's heyday like "Welcome to the St. James Club" or "Tourist In Paradise", listen to them one time through and I'll bet you can remember the melodies. The trouble with this new record isn't in the production (which gets 5 stars), it's in the weak writing. The hooks are there but there's no real melodies.

The players seem to be held at bay as well. I was really happy when Eric Marienthal replaced Paul Taylor on sax who had a sound so thin he sounded like the band would literally blow him off the stage; A guy like Eric Marienthal can play his butt off, but you'd never know that from this record where he is forced to play simple riff-oriented songs. If you're looking for background music, you may be satisfied but the Rippingtons and Russ are "Miles Away" from their best material.

There is one beautiful track on this record "In The End" which, while it has a less complete melody than say "One Summer Night In Brazil" or other Ripps ballads, has a very nice asthetic to it. The drumming on that track is especially nice.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste!!!!, May 31, 2005
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This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
What a waste of good musicians and expensive studio time. This CD is a major disappointment. Memo to Russ Freeman: you are not Pancho Sanchez or Willie Bobo, so please lay off the latin rhythms. Also, please stop giving us CD's with vocals. They don't work and they ruin the flow of the music. Actually, the flow of music on this CD was pretty much ruined right away. The Rippingtons used to be a groove machine. You could listen to one of their albums and you'd be hooked. Now, this hollow band churns out elevator music. Dull. Boring. Lifeless. Hopeless. Snore. Is this the best you guys can do? Three Executive Producers were listed in the liner notes: Andi Howard, Russ Freeman and Mark Wexler. Were you people actually listening to these tracks as the band recorded them and did you actually think they were good? Russ, please hire some real "music people" and return to your glorious past instead of churning out this sleep-inducing drivel. This sounds like a cover band, imitating other successful music. What a huge disappointment. I miss the real Rippingtons. If you could just return them unharmed, no questions will be asked.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 pretty decent songs out of 13...primarily a "Latin-influenced" CD, August 1, 2005
By 
Mike (San Jose, CA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
"Gypsy Eyes"...Acoustic Guitar with a Latin flavor. Nice, but not overly memorable. The horns blast in around the three minute mark, and that's when you'll either love the song or skip to the next track. "Wild Card"...Starts with a familiar (perhaps a little TOO familiar) "smooth funk" bass line that Nathan East of Fourplay could rip in his sleep. The horns arrive a minute into the song. Nothing really ignites this track. "El Vacilón"...the first full-blown Latin track, with a vocal that will either delight you or make you immediately skip to the next track. Loud and grating, unless you like this kind of thing. It's like a Charo song. Coochie Coochie! "Paradise"...a languid horn line, more acoustic guitar, and a turgid pace opens up to mid-tempo electric guitar, bass and drums. Then it's the horns, then the acoustic guitar, then the electric guitar...sort of like a gumbo that needed to spend a little longer on the stove. "Spanish Girl"...more Latin stuff. "Mulata de Mi Amor"...more Latin, more vocals, do folks really buy Rippingtons CDs for this stuff? "Moonlight"...as close as we're going to get to "old-style" Rippingtons stuff. VERY nice electric lead guitar from Russ. The kind of single track you might buy from iTunes. Melodic, nice ensemble playing. You probably bought the CD to hear tracks like this one. "Till You Come Back To Me"...Chante Moore's vocal won't make you forget Aretha (or Luther). Totally unnecessary inclusion. "Lay It Down"...this one depends on how much you like the horn section front
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Disappointment!, May 25, 2005
By 
Danpb "Danny@mdbassman" (New Market, MD. United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
The last few Ripps cd's have been major disappointments to me, a life long Ripps fan. This is no exception.

This one is the worse. I enjoy Latin flavored music but not as a major dose from Russ and the group.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pathetic ., June 11, 2005
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
I loved and still love them.

But I am wondering...why aren't they more consistent?

After the magnificent 'Life In The Tropics',apparently they got lost...in the tropics and can't find a lifeboat to come ashore.

I do hope that Russ and Andi will helicopter them back with a less stale and more contemporary material.

This one on this album is samey,boring and predictable.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars SnoozaPalooza, June 4, 2005
By 
G. Gilla (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
Garbage! Get Kilimanjaro or Tourist in Paradise instead. That's when they used to rip.. This album will put you to sleep for sure, Moonlight is the only track that comes close to what we love about the Rippingtons. C'mon Russ, get it together and put some balls back in the tunes!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well, At Least It's Better Than Brave New World!!!, December 29, 2005
This review is from: Wild Card (Audio CD)
When I listened to this CD I actually expected to hear Gloria Estafan singing on some of these songs. Some of them seem like they were written for her. Wild Card has a few good songs on it. The title track is okay. Moonlight and King Of Hearts are better. The last good CD by the Rippington's was Weekend In Monaco. Changes in personnel, locations, and labels haven't proved to be too good for Russ's music. He's made his money and can experiment with various ideas. Wild Card is loser in my opinion, but at least it's better than Brave New World.
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Wild Card
Wild Card by The Rippingtons (Audio CD - 2005)
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