Under the direction of Russ Freeman (equally skilled as a guitarist and as a keyboardist), the Rippingtons succeeded in combining jazz-influenced solos with light, funky rhythms and pop sensibilities. This particular CD has selections from eight of the group's GRP recordings, plus a pair of previously unreleased tracks ("Garden of Babylon" and "Sapphire Island") newly created for the sampler. With notable contributions from Freeman's longtime rhythm section and such saxophonists as Kenny G. (heard on "She Likes to Watch"), Brandon Fields, Eric Marienthal, Kirk Whalum, and Jeff Kashiwa, the CD acts as both a definitive sampling of the band's history and as an introduction to their accessible music. The results overall are typically lightweight but reasonably enjoyable, with some fiery moments giving variety to the high-quality pop music.
The Best of the Rippingtons Review
by Scott Yanow