Posts Tagged ‘ Lee Ritenour ’

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

Lee Ritenour – Rhythm Sessions

I always thought it’s a very cool model to combine very well-known, almost legendary players with completely new talent on the same record. I love that scenario. It’s not a format that many people have followed before, but I’ve always considered it a fascinating experiment, and a way to create some great sounds.”

Lee Ritenour, speaking on the release of Rhythm Sessions (Concord Records, 2012).

Ritenour’s career has spanned five decades as a session player, band leader, member of the supergroup Fourplay, songwriter, guitarist and now talent scout. Aided by jazz luminaries such as Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin and Marcus Miller, Ritenour also employs winners of the 2012 Rhythm Section Competition, an international event he launched in 2009 as a guitar competition but later expanded to include keyboardists, bassists and percussionists.

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Lee Ritenour – Rhythm Sessions

Ritenour Embarks on Innovative Musical Journey with All-Star Rhythm Sections Including Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin, Christian McBride, Marcus Miller and Winners of his Annual Six String Theory International Competition

“I always thought it’s a very cool model to combine very well-known, almost legendary players with completely new talent on the same record. I love that scenario. It’s not a format that many people have followed before, but I’ve always considered it a fascinating experiment, and a way to create some great sounds.”……..Lee Ritenour

In a career that spans five decades and more than 40 albums, guitarist Lee Ritenour has developed a keen understanding of the symbiotic balance between the frontman and the supporting players, between the wisdom of experience and the enthusiasm of youth. On Rhythm Sessions, Ritenour’s new album set for release on Concord Records, September 25, 2012 (international release dates may vary) he surrounds himself with a cadre of high-profile veterans and promising newcomers – all of whom reaffirm the vital role played by the rhythm section in any worthwhile musical endeavor.

Included on the Rhythm Sessions roster are luminaries like Chick Corea, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Dave Grusin, Marcus Miller and many others. Also appearing throughout the record are the winners of Ritenour’s 2012 Rhythm Section Competition, an international event he launched in 2009 as a guitar competition and later expanded to include aspiring keyboardists, bassists and percussionists. The competition winners appearing on the album include keyboardist Hans de Wild (Holland), pianist Demetrius Nabors (Michigan), bassist Michael Feinberg (New York) and drummer Selim Munir (Turkey). The album also features Ritenour’s 19-year-old son Wesley, an aspiring drummer in his own right on one of the tracks. Continue reading

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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Lee Ritenour – 6 String Theory

The gear includes Gibson L5, Fender Stratocaster, Gibson Lucille and a Greenfield G4.2. The music is jazz, rock, blues, folk, classical and a few blends. The final ingredient to this party is a guest list that includes George Benson, Robert Cray, Vince Gill, B.B. King, Steve Lukather and many others. The host is “Captain Fingers,” Lee Ritenour.

On Concord records is Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory, a collection of 15 songs that celebrate the world’s most popular instrument: the guitar. Produced by Ritenour with John Burk, the set is performed by an all-star cast of renowned guitarists and future stars.

“Am I Wrong” features Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal. Aided by Harvey Mason on drums, Nathan East on bass and Larry Goldings on Rhodes and Clavinet, the duo share guitar leads and vocals. Mahal also plays harmonica.

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