True Stories With The Rippingtons

Bruce Von Stiers

I have been a fan of The Rippingtons since first hearing songs from their album, Welcome To The St. James' Club. In fact, I have a stack of their CD's, ranging from Moonlighting to Life In The Tropics.

The smooth jazz band has recorded eighteen or so albums over the course of three decades. Their latest effort is a really cool album titled True Stories.

There are ten songs on the album. It was produced by Russ Freeman and the band. It is being released on the Peak Records label in conjunction with Entertainment One.

The front-man for The Rippingtons is guitarist Russ Freeman. He is joined by drummer Dave Karasony and alto and soprano sax player Brandon Fields. Also playing on the album is bassist and Rhodes player Rico Belled. Besides playing with this band, Brandon has also played with Tower of Power. Dave has played with Rick Braun and Chris Standring along with playing and recording with The Rippingtons. Rico has also played with Chris Standring, along with Keiko Matsui.

Starting off the album is Wild Stories. The press information for the song calls it “hypnotic.” It is definitely a head bopping, slick tune with great rhythm and some tough synth and guitar.

Sundance has some of the licks that instantly identify it as a song from the band. Russ has a really good guitar solo in the song. There is also some cool sax.

Flamenco Beach is a song that was inspired by travels to Spain by Russ. It is an intriguing song, using the flamenco sound as a base and adding the flair that the band is noted for. It is a song that would definitely make you want to couples dance to.

A surprise on the album is My Promise. Russ shared writing credits on the song with his wife, Yaredt. It is a wonderful R & B flavored song. The song features the vocals of Grammy winner Jeffrey Osborne.

Bringing things back into the groove mode is Reach Higher. This song also has riffs that automatically identify it as The Rippingtons song. You can hear some nice bass in the song. And there is an absolutely cool sax solo in the song followed by an equally cool guitar solo.

Dream Catcher is more of a subtle piece, with a bit of Spanish flair mixed in with a mellow groove.

Wonderland is touted by Russ as his favorite song on the album. It starts out slow and easy, then picks up the pace a bit with a light, head bopping groove. On this song Russ plays a Rosewood Fender Telecaster.

I've got to say that King's Road is my favorite song on the album. It has a solid rock guitar base in the background and some very tough synth and drums. And the sax solo in the song is killer. But then again, so are the guitar and drum solos.

Golden Child is a fun, smile effecting, body moving groove. You probably won't be able to stop your feet from moving while listening to this one. At least I couldn't.

The final song for the album is the title track, True Stories. Mellow and easy, it also has some of the signature riffs that the band is known for.

The Rippingtons is one of those bands that changes styles a bit as time goes by. They still have some of their signature riffs, but are not afraid to explore new territory to expand their repertoire and keep things fresh. With songs like Flamenco Beach, Reach Higher, Wonderland and King's Road, the band shows that they are indeed exploring new ways to captivate listeners.

True Stories is set to be released June 24 th . You can get a copy from or other online and traditional music retailers.

The official web site for the band is They also have a Facebook band page at

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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers