Lee Ritenour Interviewed By Woodrow Wilkins

Lee Ritenour is one of the jazz world’s best-known contemporary guitarists. He’s played as a guest with Maynard Ferguson, the Brothers Johnson and many others. He was a founding member of the contemporary/smooth jazz group, Fourplay. And he’s led his own band, with perhaps is most successful song being the R&B hit, “Is It You.”

Ritenour’s latest studio effort, Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory, released on Concord Records, is a star-studded collection of 15 songs that celebrate the world’s most popular instrument: the guitar. Three of the songs were written specifically for 6 String Theory.

Among them is “L.P. (for Les Paul).” “I wrote it with dedication to Les Paul,” Ritenour says. “But I wanted to do what would be my take on a Les Paul line, but at the same time could be a nice take for Pat (Martino).” Some of the guests on this outing are John Scofield, Keb’ Mo’, Slash from Guns ’n Roses and George Benson. Ritenour selected them to represent different genres of music. Not all of the performers are stars. Shon Bublil, a 16-year-old from Canada, won an international competition to earn a spot on the recording. The finals of the competition were held in March, shortly before 6 String Theory was recorded.

“He only knew he’d be on the record the night before he recorded,” Ritenour says of Bublil. “Hundreds of people entered.” The competition was open for about six months. When told that he’d be in the studio, Bublil initially objected. “He was so shocked to win, that I said to him while we were taking photos back stage, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow at my studio,’” “And he said, ‘No, I can’t record I have to go back to Canada.’”

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