Life in the Tropics -- the first Peak Records release for the Rippingtons -- features guitarist Russ Freeman and is a great smooth jazz celebration of rhythmic delights that resemble the tropical splendor of an island oasis. The natural beauty of each composition is reflected by the great talents of the Rippingtons: Kim Stone on bass, Dave Kochanski on keyboards, Ramon Yslas on percussion, and Dave Hooper on drums, along with special guests the great saxophonists Dave Koz, Eric Marienthal, and Paul Taylor, keyboardist Bob James, and guitarist Peter White. The centerpiece of this CD is "Love Child," a sensuous mid-tempo ballad that alternates the brilliant sax work of Marienthal and Taylor as Freeman strums an emotional string sonnet under soulful synths and keyboards. The romantic vocals of Howard Hewitt on "I Found Heaven" invite you to rediscover his intense passion for a great love ballad. Its lyrics convey the excellent songwriting abilities of Freeman and Gary Brown and their ability to connect to the emotional melorhythms of the listener. The fresh sounds revealed on Life in the Tropics are sure to please you because of their melodic elements, rhythms, brass, and great guitar of Russ Freeman.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein