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    Ritenour, Lee (11 January 1952 – Present)

    Guitarist and songwriter from Los Angeles, California, who was playing professionally by the time he was sixteen years of age, laying down tracks for the Mamas & the Papas.  At eighteen, he was accompanying the likes of Tony Bennett and Lena Horne.

     

    In the 1970s, he had a standing gig on Tuesday nights at the Baked Potato with Dave Grusin, Harvey Mason, Patrice Rushen, and Ernie Watts.  They were a fixture on the live music scene for half a decade.

     

    He toured with Sergio Mendes’s Brazil ’77 in ’73, but became so valuable as a session musician, that it often precluded him from taking long jaunts on the road.

     

    In 1976, he released his solo debut album, First Course.  It was just a taste of the banquet he would serve up during the next forty-plus years.  He followed it up with Gentle Thoughts, and an album bearing his self-explanatory nickname, Captain Fingers, in 1977.  In 1978, he issued The Captain’s Journey.  Feel the Night and Rio hit the shelves in 1979.

     

    Around this time, he started working on Pink Floyd’s album/film, The Wall.  He performed on a handful of tracks, including “Comfortably Numb”, “Run Like Hell”, and “What Do You Want”.

     

    He opened the 1980s with a sort-of self-titled LP, Rit.  It bore fruit with “Is It You”, sung by Eric Tagg, which peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #27 on the soul chart.  “Is it You” and “Mr. Briefcase” were both aired on MTV during its first broadcast day.

     

    Rit was succeeded by Rit/2, On the Line, and Banded Together, as he continued to record at a pace of one album per year.

     

    On 11th November 1985, he and Cheech & Chong and Don Henley performed a benefit concert at the Presbyterian Conference Center in Pacific Palisades.

     

    He and Dave Grusin collaborated on Harlequin and won a Grammy award in the category of Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for “Early A.M. Attitude” on 25th February 1986.

     

    Before the year was out, he released Earth Run, and played guitar and produced tracks for the album Hot on the Trail by Deniece Williams.

     

    In 1987, he unveiled Portrait, a populous recording that featured artists such as Alex Acuna, Paulinho Da Costa, Kenny G, Jerry Hey, Paul Jackson, Jr., Harvey Mason, Greg Phillinganes, and Eric Tagg.

     

    It was followed by Festival and GRP Super Live, another all-star affair that included Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Diane Schuur and Tom Scott, in 1988.

     

    On 20th May 1989, he shared the stage with Richard Elliot, Pete Escovedo, Hiroshima, Hugh Masekela, Kim Pensyl, the Rippingtons and Shadowfax at the Pacific Jazz Festival in Costa Mesa.

     

    He wed Brazilian arts envoy Carmen Santos in the Pepperdine University chapel on 21st October 1990.

     

    In 1991, he and keyboardist Bob James co-founded Fourplay, and their first album reigned supreme on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart for a record thirty-three weeks.

     

    He honoured one of his heroes and influences, Wes Montgomery, with his 1992 release, Wes Bound.  It topped the Billboard Jazz chart in 1993.

     

    More tributes would follow:  In 1997, he released A Twist of Jobim, featuring the talents of Oleta Adams, El DeBarge, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, and the Yellowjackets.

     

    He and Dave Grusin teamed up again in 2000 on Two Worlds, which spent one week shy of a year on the Billboard Classical chart.

     

    This was succeeded by A Twist of Marley, Rit’s House, A Twist of Motown, Overtime, World of Brazil, and the DVD, Live in Montreal with Special Guests.  Overtime, recorded before a live studio audience, was later released on DVD, as well.

     

    He and his son Wesley, a drummer, worked together on Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors in 2006.  The end of the year found him and David Grusin performing live at Blue Note Tokyo.

     

    On 15th August 2007, he and Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke and John Scofield made a surprise appearance at the Hollywood Bowl as part of its summer jazz series.

     

    He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by Guitar Player Magazine in 2010.

     

    This corresponded with the release of 6 String Theory, featuring guitar illuminati George Benson, Vince Gill, B.B. King, and Steve Lukather.  It won Album of the Year from JAZZIZ Music Publishers and Guitar Album of the Year from Guitar International Magazine.  Lee also won an Echo Award, the equivalent of a Grammy in Germany, in the category of Best International Instrumentalist.

     

    In 2011, he continued to make live appearances, with John Beasley, Melvin Davis, Simon Phillips and Mike Stern at Blue Note Tokyo, and with Dave Grusin at Auditorium Stravinski.

     

    He shared the stage with Spyro Gyra at the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach on 22nd June 2012.

     

    His discography is massive—to date, he has performed more than 3,000 sessions—and here is but a sampling:  Adam Again by Michael Omartian; Agora by Paulinho Da Costa; Baby, It’s Me by Diana Ross; Basic by Glen Campbell; The Best is Yet to Come by Grover Washington, Jr.; Cat and the Hat by Ben Sidran; Endless Flight by Leo Sayer; Fate for Breakfast by Art Garfunkel; Finger Painting by Earl Klugh; Heartlight by Neil Diamond; In the Pocket by Neil Sedaka; L.A. is My Lady by Frank Sinatra; Reach by Patti Austin; Sometimes Late at Night by Carole Bayer Sager; Street Dreams by Chet Atkins; Symphony Sessions by David Foster; That’s What Friends Are For by Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams; and, Torch by Carly Simon.

     

    He can also be heard on the soundtracks of Demon Seed, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Grease, Havana, Moment by Moment, An Officer and a Gentleman, Pink Floyd The Wall, Saturday Night Fever, Taxi Driver, Tequila Sunrise, Working Girl, and The Yakuza.

     

    The Yahama 6 String Theory Guitar Competition also bears his name.

     

    Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams recordings

    Emotion (Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb)

    S CBS 6164B (UK 45)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.leeritenour.com/biography
    2. http://www.nndb.com/people/914/000044782/
    3. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lee-ritenour-mn0000228444
    4. http://www2.gibson.com/products/electric-guitars/archtop/gibson-custom/lee-ritenour.aspx
    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Ritenour
    6. http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/lee-ritenour
    7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28th_Grammy_Awards
    8. http://www.leeritenour.com/cd-details/Portrait
    9. http://www.discogs.com/Dave-Grusin-Lee-Ritenour-Chick-Corea-Diane-Schuur-Tom-Scott-GRP-Super-Live/release/1429302
    10. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=10710
    11. http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/artist/music/detail.aspx?pid=9641&aid=2659
    12. http://www.amazon.com/Lee-Ritenour-Montreal-Special-Guests/dp/B0001BKACQ
    13. http://connectbrazil.com/main/detail.php?id=127
    14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWo2z8dW5D4
    15. http://www.bugera-amps.com/artists/lee-ritenour-and-george-benson-record-with-bugera/
    16. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=37380
    17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsmlkrBiok0
    18. http://www.montreuxjazzlive.com/lee-ritenour-dave-grusin-rio-funk-video
    19. http://www.leeritenour.com/Complete-Discography
    20. http://www.leeritenour.com/Lee-Appears-On
    21. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0728655/
    22. http://www.leeritenour.com/latest-news

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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