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Wild Card (Feat. Russ Freeman)

3.7 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 17, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Long considered one of the supergroups of contemporary jazz, The Rippingtons-in the tradition of their wildly popular Life In the Tropics CD-combine Their signature sound with a latin and R&B Flair. Also Spotlighting Some Incredible Guest artists Albita, Willy Chirino, Chante Moore and Grammy Award winner Ozomatli The Rippingtons have clearly played a winning hand with Wild Card. Universal. 2005.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Gypsy Eyes
  2. Wild Card
  3. El Vacilon
  4. Paradise
  5. Spanish Girl
  6. Mulata De Mi Amor
  7. Moonlight
  8. Till You Come Back To Me
  9. Lay It Down
  10. King Of Hearts
  11. Into You
  12. Mulata De Mi Amor (Instrumental)
  13. In The End


Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 17, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Peak Records
  • ASIN: B0007XBMF2
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,463 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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