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Topaz

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Don't fix it if it ain't broken. Russ Freeman, the auteur behind the Rippingtons, knows how to make his band sound great: set them up with catchy melodies and easy-grooving rhythms, feature lyrical soloists --not least the guitar-picking leader -- wrap the whole accessible package in listener-friendly arrangements and high-end production values, and there you have it. If TOPAZ is more of the same, then more power to Freeman and his please-the-people band. Inspired by the open-air spirit of the Southwest, TOPAZ has its share of instantly embraceable tunes -- "Spirits in the Canyon," "Snakedance," "Under a Spanish Moon," "Rain," and the title tune, which, like many of ...
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AUDIO CD New 019341143826 NEW/SEALED & in Excellent Condition-BUY NOW and REMEMBER WHEN ***

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - William Pearl
Don't fix it if it ain't broken. Russ Freeman, the auteur behind the Rippingtons, knows how to make his band sound great: set them up with catchy melodies and easy-grooving rhythms, feature lyrical soloists --not least the guitar-picking leader -- wrap the whole accessible package in listener-friendly arrangements and high-end production values, and there you have it. If TOPAZ is more of the same, then more power to Freeman and his please-the-people band. Inspired by the open-air spirit of the Southwest, TOPAZ has its share of instantly embraceable tunes -- "Spirits in the Canyon," "Snakedance," "Under a Spanish Moon," "Rain," and the title tune, which, like many of the album's performances, moves to a slinky Latin beat. It's all state-of-the-art smooth jazz -- just the way Freeman, and his fans, love it.
All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
Whether traveling musically to places like Aruba or Kenya, or spending a playful weekend in Monaco as he did in 1992, Russ Freeman has mastered the art of the exotic, smooth-jazz sojourn. Rather than getting a passport this time, he and the new Rippingtons lineup with guest Paul Taylor replacing longtime saxman Jeff Kashiwa take a trip just down the road from Freeman's Colorado spread, to the New Mexico arts community of Taos. Long a brilliant classical guitarist, Freeman upped the ante with a memorable flamenco jaunt on the Rippingtons' last album Black Diamond. Here, inspired by the Spanish vibe of his adopted environment, he more fully explores those traditions in an accessible pop context. On the opening track "Taos," he follows a gently loping flamenco pattern with a powerful electric guitar-driven hook, reminding us that he is, indeed, one of smooth jazz's best melody writers and producers. "Under a Spanish Moon" begins with a rumbling flamenco intro by Tom Gannaway, then becomes a lively, atmosphere-heavy, Latin-flavored romp -- led by Freeman's swaying acoustic melody, enhanced by a sparkling Dave Kochanski piano solo -- along a dusty desert trail. Freeman's liner notes explain that his interest in all things Western grew out of his 1998 dual project with Craig Chaquico, From the Redwoods to the Rockies. The jumpy acoustic jam "Snakedance" sounds like an outtake from those sessions, but with Freeman himself crisply counterpointing rhythm and melody lines with two interweaving acoustic guitar tracks. With soundscape master Steve Reid having departed from the band and only appearing on one track here, Freeman turns for spiritual atmosphere to Native American flutist Robert Tree Cody. Cody appears on three tunes, blending perfectly with Freeman's guitars on "Stories of the Painted Desert" and taking the lead over a rolling, darkly toned bassline on "Led Here by an Eagle." His presence adds a touch of authenticity to Freeman's brilliant reflection on the spirit of the Southwest.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/18/1999
  • Label: Windham Hill Records
  • UPC: 019341143826
  • Catalog Number: 11438

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Taos - Russ Freeman (5:53)
  2. 2 Summer Lovers - Russ Freeman (4:40)
  3. 3 Spirits in the Canyon - Russ Freeman (5:01)
  4. 4 Under a Spanish Moon - Russ Freeman (4:18)
  5. 5 Temple of the Sun - Russ Freeman (4:45)
  6. 6 Stories of the Painted Desert - Russ Freeman (4:42)
  7. 7 Snakedance - Russ Freeman (4:21)
  8. 8 Led Here by an Eagle - Russ Freeman (5:20)
  9. 9 Topaz: Gem of the Setting Sun - Russ Freeman (4:57)
  10. 10 Rain - Russ Freeman (4:58)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Rippingtons Primary Artist
Steve Reid Percussion
Robert Tree Cody Flute
Bill Heller Keyboards
Dave Hooper Percussion, Drums
Tony Morales Drums
Kim Stone Bass
Paul Taylor Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone
Dave Kochanski Piano
Russ Freeman Bass, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Keyboards
Technical Credits
Doug Sax Mastering
Andi Howard Executive Producer
Patrick Clifford Art Direction
Nick Sodano Engineer, Engineering
Russ Freeman Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Executive Producer, Engineering
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    My Favorite All Time Music

    I listen to this every time I arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's like coming home. Whenever I hear this music I long to be back there again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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