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Life In The Tropics

4.3 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: RIPPINGTONS
Title: LIFE IN THE TROPICS
Street Release Date: 10/10/2000
Domestic
Genre: JAZZ

Amazon.com

When Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons exploded on the contemporary jazz scene in 1986 with Moonlighting, the leader's compositional and production style was a breath of fresh air. Over the next decade, however, his much-copied style became a parody of itself and the epitome of the tepid music associated with smooth-jazz radio. After a couple of record label changes, Freeman seems to have regrouped somewhat with Life in the Tropics. Although the first two tracks offer the same Rips formula of a guitar and/or sax line playing a line with computer-generated rhythms behind synthesizer flourishes adding up to nothing special, cuts 3 through 11 show Freeman searching for a new aural core to his style, a lot of which has to do with the Latin and Caribbean themes of the disc. In fact, "South Beach Mambo" sounds straight out of Santana's Supernatural sessions with a horn section adding spice. Saxman Eric Marienthal and pianist Bill Heller stand out, as does trumpeter Ramon Flores. The latter's horn stands particularly since it isn't the smooth-jazz clichéd alto horn sound that the Rippingtons made infamous. Keyboardist Bob James also does a guest shot on what is easily the Rippingtons' best album since 1994's Sahara. --Mark A. Ruffin

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Club Paradiso
  2. Caribbean Breeze
  3. Cruisin' Down Ocean Drive
  4. Be Cool
  5. Rhythm Of Your Life
  6. Love Child
  7. Avenida Del Mar
  8. I Found Heaven
  9. South Beach Mambo
  10. Life In The Tropics
  11. Island Aphrodisiac


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: October 10, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Records
  • ASIN: B00004Z42V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charlie Peterson on October 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I have been an outspoken fan of Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons for five years now, and when I heard "Brave New World" (1996) for the first time, I was blown away. There was a hard edge to most of the songs, and, upon further investigation, many of the earlier albums did as well. In the year between the release of "Brave New World" and "Black Diamond", I listened to all the previous Ripps albums, and was equally impressed. Definitely some smokin' jazz players. However, with the introduction of the electronica loops on "Black Diamond", it seemed like some of the edge had been watered down by milkier changes and the safety net of technology. Fans: compare a track like "Love Child" on the new one, with its smooth-jazz bedroom feel, to a track like "Avenida Del Mar" or "Cicada" from "Brave New World". A world of difference. The latter two possess that edge and complexity that many have come to identify the Rippingtons by, and, as a fan and musician, that's what I look for. "Life In The Tropics" is every bit a Ripps album, and I was pleased with what I heard. As has been stated in other reviews, possibly a bit too "smooth-jazz"y at times, but nonetheless, a quality effort. Russ, if you're reading this, keep that hard drivin', edgy, chordally-complex stuff coming, and you've got a fan for life.
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Format: Audio CD
Let the partying begin! The Rippingtons return on yet another new record label but this time it's on Russ Freeman's Peak Records. Russ has written a "hot" bunch of songs that fuse the confidence of his band The Rippingtons and many of my favorite contemporary jazz stars. "Club Paradiso" starts things off with Eric Marienthal giving the chorus a buoyant little swing. "Caribbean Breeze" has a flamenco feel to it and is punctuated by Peter White on classical guitar. Elsewhere "Be Cool" has a happy vibe with a killer hook by saxophonist Dave Koz. From there, the tempo heats up on the Latin spiced "Rhythm of Your Life" featuring lead vocals by Daisy Lourdes Villa, the burning "Avenida Del Mar" and the festive "South Beach Mambo". And for more of a cool groove, there's the title track featuring Bob James on keyboards and "I Found Heaven" with vocals by R&B emissary Howard Hewitt. Something for everyone...the album will please old Ripps fans and is sure to attract new ones. I'm ready for a Life in the Tropics, are you?
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Format: Audio CD
Let's just say that The Rippingtons of 1995 and earlier were a spectacular band, and then they began to succomb to the "smooth jazz" sound - you know, that syncopated hip-hoppy lite jazz with no guts. 8 or so of the 11 songs on this album fall into that mode. Granted, it's nice to hear, but it isn't a "wow, is that great!" The one or two songs with electric guitar do stand out with their energy. Now for the album itself, and not the overall sound. Like the title track says, the songs invoke tropical rhythms and sounds - lots of background percussion including nice conga parts, timbales, and rain sticks. Some of the songs, including those that rock the most, are Latin-flavored (the Gloria Estefan-styled vocals of Daisy Lourdes Villa on "Rhythm of Your Life" and the great guitar-driven "Avenida Del Mar"). Howard Hewitt does a great vocal on "I Found Heaven", and "South Beach Mambo" is fun. But the rest is that acoustic-guitar lite jazz. Russ Freeman writes great melodies and I love his songs, but LET LOOSE and JAM!!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The tunes are all well-produced. This band gets it right. Highly polished smooth jazz. Nothing sloppy. The music is happy. I feel like a better person after listening to these guys. I certainly appreciate music more.
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Format: Audio CD
I am fairly new to the Rippingtons so I can't compare this album to any of their others as many other reviewers here can.
Perhaps it's not the best that they have ever done but I love the sound and I love some of the tracks. In particular, Love Child - such a great song I would buy the CD just for this track. Listen to this track a few times if you're in any doubt whether to buy.
The other really great track is South Beach Mambo... The trumpet solo is so hot that I get goose bumps... if that makes sense?
The other tracks off the album fall somewhere in between these two songs and styles.
If this is an example of mediocre Rippingtons, I can't wait to hear some of the other albums.
It's a solid 3 star album with a couple of tracks really giving it a 4.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like jazz, this is a must CD. There is such variety in the music so that you are gooving on one selection and dancing the next. This is my second purchase and I'm sure I'll be ordering my third CD soon. :)
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Format: Audio CD
If you don't like Rippingtons you surely won't like this album and that's ok of course but eventually you don't like any album from Russ Freeman. When you say "I don't like Russ Freeman music" that's it, you don't have to specify that you didn't like Life in the Tropics. But if you're into Russ's music I think that you have to like this one because it is one of the best Ripp's albums to date. It's one of the best example of the Russ Freeman way of composing and presenting music. Sure it is commercial music, nothing really serious, like all light jazz music is by the way. With this album Russ simply want to give you enjoyment and create a nice relaxed atmosphere with good quality music. The good thing is that Russ always succeed in this attempt and in this case too! Life in the tropics is very balanced as some of the best ripp's albums like Sahara or Black Diamond. It has nice instrumentals, a couple of very good vocal tracks, some more calm moments and some more energetic ones. It is balanced and very well written, arranged, played and recorded as any other ripp's album by the way. It is a very very good album in it's genre. If you don't like the genre that's another story of course and it's perfectly ok. But my advice is. Take the best from each genre. You don't have to lock yourself inside one single genre. Why limitate ourselves? Music, when it's very well written and played it is always good. No matter the genre. Even in the case of a less noble genre like light jazz. But the music should be good. This is the case.
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