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Showing 1-10 of 102 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 139 reviews
on October 4, 2013
Disclaimer: I am a HUGE Rippingtons fan, and am of the opinion that this highly talented group of musicians lead by Russ Freeman are incapable of making a bad record. With the Ripps, you can always be guaranteed first class musicianship, songwriting, feel and tone.
Having said that, Build to Last is not my favorite Ripps album. I really wanted to love it, but only "like" it. For me, the Ripps are at their best when they are swanky. The icy-cool urban smooth jazz sound or tropical/latin smooth jazz sound of high-end resorts and cruise ships, that's the Rippingtons sound that most appeals to me. The thing with this latest album is that Russ seems to go in the completely opposite direction. I think if you are a fan of moody alt-country, this record might appeal to you. I almost expected Chris Issak to make an appearance! The music, as always, is very textured and layered in all the right places. My favorite song, and the one that most feels like classic Ripps is "Hotel Deville". This is another one pf those styles that the Ripps do that I like..that Bruce Hornsby-ish heartland thing, with the piano and acoustic guitar. Very nice. On most of the other songs, I really don't like the "orchestra". It sounds very much to me that he used a synth pickup on his guitar and triggered orchestra samples. it has that "sucking" effect (odd volume swells and attack) that guitar synths sometimes do. So, all in all this is not my favorite album.
But Honestly, the Ripps are always good. I can safely say I like every song this band has ever recorded. No album is a dud. There is not much filler in any of their albums.
I just hope Russ eventually makes another classic smooth jazz album. FYI, my favorite Ripps albums are "Let it Ripp" and "Wild Card", but I own them all and like them all.
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on March 27, 2017
Great seller and great CD , thank you
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on April 12, 2013
The Ripps new CD is good but in my opinion not as good as past offerings, they continue to evolve and those of us who have been fans over the past 20 to 25 years understand that Russ continues to grow as well! I own all their stuff so this is another good one!
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on September 2, 2012
WOW! Make that two wows!! First, this was the first Rippingtons CD that I actually sat and listened to in one setting since "Wild Card". Two, I'm amazed on how many people just "Ripped" this album to pieces!!! (BAD PUN) I own 19 of the 20 Ripp's CDs that have been released. I rank this one in the top five. "Curves Ahead", "Weekend in Monaco", "Sahara" and "Wild Card" are my other top choices. Now, I am not a jazz aficionado by any means, but I do love many jazz groups such as Spyro Gyra, Pat Metheny, Bob James, the Jeff Lorber Fusion, and the Yellowjackets. The Ripps are right there with these artists, but lately the Ripps have been too generic or haven't gone away from their safety zone. "Built to Last" not only goes away from that zone, it demolishes it!! I loved the experiment and the risks that Russ Freeman took on this album. Some equated it to a dramatic music score and others said it was done from software. Well, as Sly and the Family Stone stated in one of their hits,"Different strokes for different folks", that is always the case. If I only liked the Ripps during their early years, I probably would have hated this album, but its departure from many of the "Old Style" Russ Freeman albums is what made this a refreshing change. (Remember the Beatles and how they took extreme risks?) Now, I am not comparing the Rippingtons to the greatnes of the Beatles, I'm only saying, Russ tried a new direction, and in my opinion it was a nice change. Some people hate change. (Note: "American Panorama", "Black Oak" and "Cougars and Gigolos" are more typical of "old-style Rippingtons.)

I was going to review each song but that gets long and tedious for most to read, so I will spare you. I will just leave you with these few things that really sets this album in a different category from the previous Rippingtons music: ORCHESTRATION-It is really beautiful as background and lead additions to the songs, DYNAMIC RHYTHMS- Yes, it reminded me of some movie scores but is that automatically a bad thing?, and More VARIETY of instruments taking lead solos. "Firefly" has a beautiful soprano sax solo and "In the Shadow of Giants", it features Russ on a classical guitar and also a crunch guitar solo. The lead song,"Built to Last" starts with an orchestra and builds into a dynamic jazz-rock piece with several nice solos throughout. (I'm sure many would say the song is glorified elevator music, but it is still a dynamic song.) Finally, my favorite tune was "Route 66". It was BIG BAND all the way!! It reminded me of some of my old Stan Kenton and Count Basie records from the 60's. Of course the song is quite modernized. That is it. I'm sorry that there were so many negative reviewers, but being a lover of all genres of music (except rap and country), I just love the diversity on Russ's new CD. His risks were appreciated by at least some people.
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on November 13, 2012
I like The Rippingtons. I have ALL of their CDs. "Built to Last" is their worst.

Some of the music on this CD reminds me of a soundtrack to an 80s video game.

I'm not sure what they were thinking when they recorded "Route 66." It's HORRIBLE!

I have listened to the CD a several times and sadly, not one track stands out to me as something I would consider good.

This CD could be taken out of circulation and it wouldn't be missed.
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on August 29, 2016
This album sounds like most of it was written in Russ' living room on a high end keyboard using synth keys for many of the orchestral instruments. It sounds like it was basically meant to be a demo but turned out so pure and balanced it's brilliant and was carried straight to CD. Whatever it's beginnings, I love this album. I can see why many long time Rippingtons fans have "ripped it". Some of the orchestral parts sound almost campy being played on keyboard on a few of the songs, but I can totally forgive that because the music is so soothing and fits together so well. Many different moods, a bit of classic Americana thrown in, listened to it all weekend for my wife and I's 10th Anniversary getaway. Calmed our 8 month old down, provided a great mood, made the weekend for us. Thanks Russ! BTW I know a lot of early adopters and purists think the best days of the band were in their first half a decade but I find the later albums so well put together I think I prefer them. I feel like the band is getting better and better.
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on December 9, 2012
I heard a few songs on the radio and figured I'd probably skip this album ('Cougars and Gigolos' particularly irritated me). That changed when I heard The Ripps play a few tracks from 'Built to Last' at a recent concert. The songs sounded great and I assumed I was just being unfair. NOPE! The cd stinks from start to finish. It pales in comparison to their previous efforts. In fact, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts Russ dug some old tracks out of a trunk and made this cd.
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on May 9, 2013
Latest Rippingtons CD is one of their best. Most enjoyed the single release of Cougars. Hearing the CD in full was quite, as usual, enjoyable.
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on January 13, 2015
While i Have been a fan for more than twenty years,and like many of you will buy a Rippingtons CD with no questions,this one leaves me flat and not wanting more. I understand the desire to put forth something fresh,but this band has been forged by driving sax based rhythms,along with tremendous acoustic material. After all , Russ Freeman just about created smooth jazz. So, after twenty + years and tons of terrific music what does Russ have left to say? Whatever he wants,and we'll buy it!
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on September 25, 2012
Let me start out by pointing out that I own every Rippingtons release with the exception of Cote D'Azur. Modern Art left me feeling a little 'meh' and the samples of Cote D'Azur had me feeling more 'meh'. What initially drew me to this band was the band concept rather than the focus on one player and the incredible mix of soft melodies balanced with driving grooves - often within the same song. I was becoming fearful that the well had run dry. There is no denying that Russ Freeman can compose masterfully, which brings me to this release. I was intrigued when I read about the direction that Built To Last was taking. After listening to the samples and then reading some of the reviews, I was initially a little disappointed. I am a bass player and it is never uplifting to hear synthesized instruments, as is the case with the orchestral layers (strings and horns) on this album.

With that being said, I decided to put my faith in Russ and give this album a try nonetheless. After one listen through I was overjoyed with my purchase and found myself using the repeat function all day while I worked. This is an energized and refreshing new direction for Russ and The Rippingtons. The song writing is top notch and the musicianship is as good as ever. If you are looking for Curves Ahead, this will not do. If you are looking for fresh and exciting new material from an artist that you love and that will ultimately put a smile on your face then go for it! I was able to get past the synthesized portions because of the quality of the composition itself. And, in all fairness, I don't believe smooth jazz artists are making a killing financially these days, nor are they afforded large budgets, so perhaps this was the best way for Russ to pull off what he did here.

I say Kudos to The Rippingtons for this album and if you are able to approach this objectively and not simply be waiting for the next Weekend in Monaco, then you will be pleasantly surprised as well. Enjoy!
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