Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Rippingtons

Currently Reading: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Last Friday, the 13th, as I was waiting for my dogs to dry, I was leafing through the entertainment section of the local paper and I came across an article about the jazz group The Rippingtons. They were in town and performing live at a little theater downtown on Beale Street.

They don't play what you'd call "classic" jazz, like dixieland or the more bluesey stuff coming out of Chicago. Nor are they big band like Count Bassie. They're modern, small and very good. They're also one of CC's favorite groups so naturally I clipped the article and brought it home with me (the paper was mine anyway so I'm allowed to do that even after I take it to work).

Anyway, CC absolutely wanted to go see them and even though we weren't all that comfortable going down to Beale Street on a Saturday (it can get a little wild there with all the bars), we got tickets and went down and watched the show. It really was a very good show and I say that not being a big fan. It's not that I don't like them or anything like that. I just prefer my jazz to be more heavy with sax and piano or maybe brass instead of guitar and seeing that their lead/founder, Russ Freeman, is a guitar player, well they're pretty heavy with the guitar.

In addition to Russ, they've also got Rico Belled on bass, Dave Karasony on drums, Bill Heller on keyboard and Jeff Kashiwa on sax. I've got shots of them all here though you really can't see Dave behind the drums. Take my word for it though, he's back there and he's awesome! Late into the show they played a number where he got to show off during a solo. He's also really nice too. See, after the show they were out in the lobby signing autographs and selling copies of their latest CD. Makes perfect sense right? Sell the CD in the lobby during the show and get it signed while you're at it. Anyway, they were all sitting at a long table and we were in line. Jeff and Russ are at one end, bass player in the middle, the drummer and keyboard player at the other end. We were having our CD signed as we went by and the drummer just stuck out his hand and introduced himself while we were waiting. Very nice guys.

It was a fairly laid-back crowd. Pretty much what you'd expect for a light jazz group. This isn't the type of music that inspires people to drink a lot of beer and bang their heads in rythm to the music. We had a great time though and I must say I'm more a fan of theirs now that I've seen them live. I especially liked the numbers that featured the sax player more prominently. He's got his own group called The Sax Pack, plus he had copies of HIS latest solo CD so we got that too.

So, if you're a jazz lover or if you like easy listening music (this is close enough that you might like it), check out The Rippingtons and Jeff Kashiwa. Very good music there.
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