Posts Tagged ‘ A Twist of Rit ’

Lee Ritenour – A Twist of Rit

With over 40 albums and 35 chart songs on his belt guitarist Lee Ritenour is one of the most important and popular musicians of the smooth jazz and contemporary jazz scene. As a founding member of the all-star smooth jazz group Fourplay he wrote music history.

Although Lee loves to compose new songs, he had a greater interest in re-arranging several of his previous albums he wanted to free from the dust of the past.

Some of his fellow musicians shared the joy of reinventing the old stuff including keyboardists John Beasley, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; saxophonists Ernie Watts and Bob Sheppard; bassists Melvin Lee Davis, Tom Kennedy and Dave Weckl; percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and Chris Coleman, Rashawn Ross playing flugelhorn, further the newcomers guitarists Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker, and pianist Makoto Ozone.

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Lee Ritenour – A Twist of Rit

Is it possible for Captain Fingers to get better? A listen to A Twist of Rit (Concord Records, 2015) is the latest example of guitarist Lee Ritenour outdoing himself. The album is a mix of original tunes and reinventions of classic Rit.

Performers on this date are mostly alums of Rit’s past recordings: keyboardists John Beasley, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; saxophonist Ernie Watts; bassists Melvin Lee Davis and Tom Kennedy; drummers Dave Weckl, Ronald Bruner Jr. and Chris Coleman; and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Additional players are Bob Sheppard, saxophone; and Rashawn Ross, flugelhorn. And performing with Rit for the first time are guitarists Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker, and pianist Makoto Ozone.

The energetic “Wild Rice” opens the set. One could argue it’s the best track on the album. But when you listen to the rest, you’re not quite so sure. The remake, arranged by Ritenour and Beasley, is described as a hybrid of something out of the Deep South and Southern California. The background horns, combined with the bass and drum play, give it the feel of one of those 1970s instrumental funk tracks by bands like Brass Construction, Brick or Kool & The Gang. Watts and Beasley contribute solos.

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Lee Ritenour – A Twist of Rit

atwistofrit05GRAMMY-winning, guitarist Lee Ritenour, AKA Captain Fingers, has a wide-ranging array of material to revive, as evidenced by A Twist of Rit. 2015 commemorates 40 years since his debut recording, First Course, on Epic Records. A Twist of Rit, set for release on August 21, 2015 via Concord Records, is a magnificent follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2012 album Rhythm Sessions.

A Twist of Rit spotlights Ritenour with several long-time musical cohorts, including keyboardists John Beasley, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; saxophonist Ernie Watts; bassists Melvin Lee Davis, Tom Kennedy and Dave Weckl; and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. That core group is augmented by drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and Chris Coleman, along with Bob Sheppard on saxophone and Rashawn Ross playing flugelhorn. Joining Ritenour for the first time are guitarists Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker, plus Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone.

A Twist of Rit features Ritenour’s soaring guitar lines with 12 of his compositions ranging from the funky fusion and sophisticated jazz that he has become so well known for. All of the material was captured by his longtime GRAMMY Award-winning engineer Don Murray and the tracks were recorded with everyone performing together, old-school, but with modern, state-of-the-art recording techniques. Another album highlight will be the debut of Hungarian guitarist Tony Pusztai, Grand Prize Winner of Ritenour’s biennial, 2014 Six String Theory Competition. Pusztai was selected from over 500 entries and 72 participating countries. Continue reading