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Rippingtons Smooth Cruise recap July 24, 2009

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Personal, Travel.

On Wednesday, I returned aboard the Spirit of New York for the 6:30 PM sunset cruise out of Chelsea Piers’ Pier 61 in New York, New York, to catch the weekly Smooth Cruise.  Last year, I was on hand for Spyro Gyra.  This time, it was the Rippingtons.  It was the first time I had seen them since August 2007 at the since-closed IMAC.

My parents, sister, and I left for Chelsea Piers around 4:25.  About 15 minutes in, as we were on the Long Island Expwy. (L.I.E., I-495), I started taking pictures from my seat in the back of the car.  You may remember I did the same thing going to and from Smooth Jazz for Scholars in May.

Last exit in Nassau County:

Last exit before the tollbooth for the Queens-Midtown Tunnel:

In Manhattan:

Herald Square/Macy’s:

11th Ave.:

We turned at West 24th St. and again at 12th Ave.:

The Spirit’s cruise route took as down the Hudson River, through New York Harbor, up the East River, and back. Unlike last year, I didn’t spend much time on the Empire Deck bow, but I did take a few pictures when I was out there.

The Empire Deck (second floor) is where the concert took place.

The Rippingtons featured Russ Freeman on acoustic and electric guitars:

Dave Karasony on drums:

Bill Heller on the keyboard:

Rico Belled on bass:

And special guest Jeff Kashiwa on alto and soprano saxophones and EWI (“E-wee”; electronic wind instrument):

1. Faith
Originally heard on: “Brave New World,” 1996; Russ’ solo album “Holiday,” 1995

2. Welcome to the St. James’ Club
Originally heard on: “Welcome to the St. James’ Club,” 1990

Jeff switched back and forth from EWI and alto sax:

3. Modern Art
Originally heard on: “Modern Art,” 2009

I spent a few minutes on the bow during this song to take pictures.

Lower Manhattan:

Brooklyn Bridge:

The Brooklyn-Queens Expwy. (B.Q.E.; I-278):

Back inside, Bill Heller used a vocoder for the last few lines of “Modern Art”:

Ballad Medley:
4a. Victoria’s Secret
Originally heard on: “Welcome to the St. James’ Club,” 1990

Jeff was on soprano sax for this…

…and for…
4b. Pastels On Canvas
Originally heard on: “Modern Art,” 2009

4c. Vienna
Originally heard on: “Weekend In Monaco,” 1992

Here, Jeff returned to EWI:

5. Aspen
Originally heard on: “Curves Ahead,” 1991

These pictures were taken from my table:




Jeff was one deck above on soprano sax, but I had no idea until after the song was over when he came down the stairs, sax in hand.  I looked away for a minute and he was gone.  I heard him, but didn’t see him.

I returned to the stage for…
6. Spirits in the Canyon
Originally heard on: “Topaz,” 1999


Bill had an extended solo midway through:

7. Santa Fe Trail
Originally heard on: “Curves Ahead,” 1991

I looked out the window and noticed we were near the Statue of Liberty.  So, I went outside to take two shots of that.

Picturesque, isn’t it?

Back inside…

A wild drum solo by Dave!






Then, a break from Ripps tunes for one song by Jeff:
8. When It Feels Good
Originally heard on: “Back In The Day,” 2009


9. Body Art
Originally heard on: “Modern Art,” 2009

Bill returned to vocoder…

…for Rico’s funky bass solo:


That was the last song of the set…or was it?






Black Diamond
Originally heard on: “Black Diamond,” 1997

Jeff played EWI once more on this:

11. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix cover)

12. Fire (Jimi Hendrix cover)

“Purple Haze” featured two lines of vocals from Rico and more vocoder from Bill.

On “Fire,” Rico sang the first few lines…

…and Jeff and Voco-Bill backed up the chorus:



And that was it.

There was a meet and greet one deck below.

Here I am with Russ, Rico, Jeff, Bill, and Dave:

Me with my friend Kat Sarracco and Dave:

Kat was aboard for both the 6:30 and 9:30 cruises.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable cruise and concert for me this year.  Or as my friend Ryan Grabow would put it, it was a Ripping good time.

7/27 UPDATE: Kat’s pics can be seen here and here.



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