I want to use the space of my "Week end in Monaco" review to point out a strange and quite curious thinking habit going on among Jazz fans, Jazz purists in particular (purist people, the dullest persons of them all). A lot of them, the true purists, tend to think that if a musical expression is old, hard, edged, dissonant, awkward is good and on the opposite they disdain modern Jazz melodic music as easy, commercial, stupid and unvaluable. Well I, as a Jazz musician myself, consider this attitude an incredible short sighted way of judging music. A musical expression could have value or not in both cases. It is not a problem of dissonat melodic lines and harmonies or consonant ones. A lot of strange, dissonant, avant garde Jazz is pure trash and the same can be said about a lot of easy, smooth jazz. The real truth is that you can find extremely good music in both styles, if you want to categorize them. I surely enjoy both and have the greatest respect for the best examples of both these kinds of Jazz. I find stellar Mingus's music which is quite particular in some cases and I simply adore pure bebop hard things from the forties but at the same time I love Rippington's music which is apparently simple in its shape but it is sure extremely well written a musically deep. I really think that the purist thing is really dangerous for the music lover. If you are one, tend to be open and to listen to everything comes in sight, because chances are that you could find nice stuff here and there in every style imaginable. If you are a musician and want to be creative this is a rule to follow, not an advice. Keep in mind.
Week end in Monaco is a monster album. It is one of the best in the Ripp's catalogue for what I am concerned. The music is the today really famous trademark Freeman melodic style. It is a music really sophisticated that sounds simple. This is one of the greatest accomplishments you could reach in music writing. Writing good memorable melodies, having nice arrangements, good sounds and a recognizable musical personality. In my opinion Russ put all these things in his albums. He stands among the best musicians when melodic Jazz time comes. He is up there among the best, Metheny (when he writes less complex stuff), George Benson (the soulful Benson), Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton and very few others. Go Russ!