LEE RITENOUR

Pop/Art Song/Folk / Fusion / Jazz Related Soundtracks • United States
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Growing up in L.A. in the 60′s, Grammy award winning guitarist Lee Ritenour received a rich cross section of exposure to jazz, rock and Brazilian music. From one of his first sessions at 16 with the Mamas and Papas to accompanying Lena Horne and Tony Bennett at 18, his forty year eclectic and storied career is highlighted by a Grammy Award win for his 1986 collaboration with Dave Grusin, Harlequin; 17 Grammy nominations; numerous #1 spots in guitar polls and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC. He has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs, notably the Top 15 hit “Is It You,” which has become a contemporary jazz radio classic. In the 90s, Ritenour was a founding member of Fourplay, the most successful band in contemporary jazz, with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. The first Fourplay album in 1991 spent read more...
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Buy LEE RITENOUR music

Amazon (logo)
Rhythm SessionsRhythm Sessions
Concord Records 2012
$10.93
$7.98 (used)
Sugar Loaf ExpressSugar Loaf Express
Jvc 1992
$13.79 (used)
OvertimeOvertime
Peak Records 2005
$8.63
$3.99 (used)
RitRit
Discovery / Wea 2007
$65.97
$3.07 (used)
captain fingers LPcaptain fingers LP
EPIC
$8.00 (used)
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LEE RITENOUR Discography

LEE RITENOUR albums / top albums

LEE RITENOUR First Course album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
First Course
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1976
LEE RITENOUR Captain Fingers album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Captain Fingers
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1977
LEE RITENOUR Sugar Loaf Express album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sugar Loaf Express
Fusion 1977
LEE RITENOUR Lee Ritenour & His Gentle Thoughts album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lee Ritenour & His Gentle Thoughts
Fusion 1977
LEE RITENOUR Friendship album cover 3.16 | 3 ratings
Friendship
Fusion 1978
LEE RITENOUR The Captain's Journey album cover 3.18 | 3 ratings
The Captain's Journey
Fusion 1978
LEE RITENOUR Feel the Night album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Feel the Night
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979
LEE RITENOUR In Rio (aka Rio ) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Rio (aka Rio )
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979
LEE RITENOUR Rit album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Rit
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1981
LEE RITENOUR Rit 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rit 2
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1982
LEE RITENOUR On the Line album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
On the Line
Fusion 1983
LEE RITENOUR Banded Together album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Banded Together
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1984
LEE RITENOUR Lee Ritenour And Greg Mathieson ‎: American Flyers album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lee Ritenour And Greg Mathieson ‎: American Flyers
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1985
LEE RITENOUR Earth Run album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Earth Run
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1986
LEE RITENOUR Portrait album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Portrait
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1987
LEE RITENOUR Festival album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Festival
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1988
LEE RITENOUR Color Rit album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Color Rit
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1989
LEE RITENOUR Stolen Moments album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Stolen Moments
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1990
LEE RITENOUR Wes Bound album cover 3.10 | 2 ratings
Wes Bound
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1994
LEE RITENOUR Larry & Lee album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Larry & Lee
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1995
LEE RITENOUR This Is Love album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
This Is Love
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1998
LEE RITENOUR Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour : Two Worlds album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour : Two Worlds
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2000
LEE RITENOUR Rit's House album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rit's House
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2002
LEE RITENOUR World of Brazil album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
World of Brazil
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2005
LEE RITENOUR Overtime album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Overtime
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2005
LEE RITENOUR Smoke 'n' Mirrors album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Smoke 'n' Mirrors
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2006
LEE RITENOUR Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin : Amparo album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin : Amparo
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2008
LEE RITENOUR 6 String Theory album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
6 String Theory
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2010
LEE RITENOUR Rhythm Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rhythm Sessions
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2012
LEE RITENOUR A Twist Of Rit album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Twist Of Rit
Fusion 2015

LEE RITENOUR EPs & splits

LEE RITENOUR live albums

LEE RITENOUR Alive In L.A. album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Alive In L.A.
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1997

LEE RITENOUR demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

LEE RITENOUR Session II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Session II
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979

LEE RITENOUR re-issues & compilations

LEE RITENOUR Collection album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Collection
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1979
LEE RITENOUR The Best of Lee Ritenour album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Lee Ritenour
Pop/Art Song/Folk 1981
LEE RITENOUR Friendship & The Captain's Journey album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Friendship & The Captain's Journey
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2005
LEE RITENOUR Masterpieces: Best Of The Grp Years album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masterpieces: Best Of The Grp Years
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2012

LEE RITENOUR singles (0)

LEE RITENOUR movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Overtime
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2005
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lee Ritenour & Mike Stern with The Freeway Band : Live At The Blue Note Tokyo
Pop/Art Song/Folk 2011

LEE RITENOUR Reviews

LEE RITENOUR Rit

Album · 1981 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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Chicapah
Before I go any further I confess that I knew very little about Lee Ritenour before I bought this LP in ’81 and I know as much about him now. His axe playing ability had nothing to do with the acquisition although I surmised he had to be fairly fluent on the instrument since he’d been making albums throughout the 70s (eight prior to this one). My sole purpose in getting “Rit” was so I could hear one song in particular as often and as loud as I liked. I like to think of myself as a guy who gravitates toward music that challenges my mind whether it be jazz in all its fascinating facets, progressive rock or classical fare of all types yet, despite that high-falootin’ list of genres, I’m also a fool for great pop and the first time I heard “Mr. Briefcase” I knew I had to have it. (More about the song in a moment.) At the dawn of the 80s it was crystal clear to Lee that he could issue moderately-selling jazz/funk discs till kingdom come but if he aspired to rise into the ranks of the renown he’d have to find a way to crack the top 40. So he did a very wise thing. He hired two top-notch singer/songwriters to join him, Bill Champlin and Eric Tagg, and, like genies sprung from a bottle, they made his wish come true.

If you’re the kind who’s impressed by the number of musicians utilized in putting a project together then this is your ticket to nirvana. Lee and 25 of his musical cohorts are listed as being responsible for co-manufacturing the ten cuts on “Rit” and, while that many chefs can often ruin the restaurant, the album has excellent sound and consistent musicianship. Yes, it’s slicker than honey butter but that was the trend in light contemporary jazz at the time. With David Foster and Harvey Mason producing it wasn’t the punk rock mob they were aiming for anyway. Not my cup of sugar but once I got hooked on that one track the rest of the LP could’ve been crammed with Tiny Tim’s greatest hits and I’d still have stopped at nothing to get it in my grubby mitts. That’s just me. (Turned out okay. I’ve made much, much worse decisions.)

The opener is none other than Tagg’s incredibly infectious “Mr. Briefcase.” It has one of the catchiest, most arresting intros you’ll ever find in pop R&B with its wakeup call synthesizer chords and energetic slappin’ bass line driving you right up to the front gate of the “biz” where Eric’s soulful, bright white chocolate voice delivers snarky lines like “Businessman/green sedan/sold his soul/to reach his goal/working his way up the ladder/success is the end/and his lies are the means.” Ritenour’s guitar solo won’t be confused with great jazz but it’s fine for this tune and he avoids getting in the way of Tagg’s finger pointing. “Hang on real tight to your briefcase/if you should lose it/you’ll have to stand naked like me,” he warns. Even though this wasn’t the chart-topper it should’ve been, it’ll always be a big hit in my house. So there.

The disco beat that pulsates underneath “(Just) Tell Me Pretty Lies” has to be excused because that’s what everyone was begging for in that strobe-lit era and few albums got mastered without at least one requisite Saturday Night Feverish number on board. While the non-stop bass drum is monotonous at least Eric tactfully sidesteps the typical dance ditty vocal pitfalls and gives a mature performance worthy of respect. The horn section is perky, the acoustic piano adds class and Lee’s fills are clever. “No Sympathy” starts like your average sappy ballad but when Tagg starts crooning the song gets a whole lot better in a snap. Dense strings and synthesizers in the backdrop give it a warm glow but Ritenour’s guitar lines are pedestrian when he should’ve offered up flashes of electricity. “Is It You?” is next and this is the track that did the trick. Eric, Bill and Lee joined forces to pen this #15 staple of AOR radio and it’s vibrant R&B that’s head and shoulders above the routine rabble. Tagg sings with just enough passion to make it real, not overwrought, and it’s one of the most romantic tunes you can play for your sexy lady without your true carnal intentions being made overtly obvious.

The trio of songs that follow were written by Ritenour and though there’s a noticeable dip in compositional quality they’re pleasant enough to please the audience that’d supported him along the way. He knew better than to bite the hands that fed him, in other words. “Dreamwalk” is a short, sweet guitar instrumental with lush strings in abundance. “Countdown (Captain Fingers)” is a silly piece of fluff that has spacey, UFO sound effects that didn’t age well and another inane disco throb (tolerable once but when employed twice on the same LP it’s a crime punishable by being compelled to wear polyester) that torpedoes the frigate. You keep thinking that Lee’s going to cut loose on the fretboard at any moment in a valiant rescue effort but it never happens. “Good Question” changes the pace with a harder rock beat and Ritenour’s electric slide. At long last he turns in the hot solo he’s been hiding up his sleeve. His cover of Sly Stone’s “(You Caught Me) Smilin’” sports a light funk intro that evolves into a smooth groove where smart horn lines add some happy pizzazz. But it’s Champlin’s raspy exclamations that really smoke the joint up and Lee tosses in another burner for good measure. Next is “On The Slow Glide” and I gotta hand it to him for keeping things fresh via a variety of tempos and influences. It’s nothing I’d call amazing but it’s entertaining stuff nonetheless. The ill-advised ending, a two-minute reprise of “No Sympathy,” has filler written all over it (suddenly Tagg doesn’t get a co-writer credit? Hmm. Something smells fishy.) and is drenched in poor taste because it’s so utterly out of context.

I never bought another of Lee’s records because Eric and Bill soon parted company with him and they were what made his material appealing to me. Tagg has released several exemplary solo albums (“Smilin’ Memories” is legendary) filled with more of his great R&B songs and richly expressive voice. Champlin quickly moved on to worldwide fame as a central cog in the “Chicago” machine and has now returned to California to captain his resurrected “Sons of Champlin” outfit. As for Ritenour he still has his loyal following and he’s one of the most sought-after session guitarists around today. That’s nothing to sniff at. He may never be referred to as a guitar “god” per se but we’ve got plenty of those already. My hat’s off to anyone who can beat the odds, stay sane/healthy and make a decent living as a gunslinger for as long as he has but his playing just doesn’t thrill me.

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