Ritenour and Grusin are back with Amparo, which interprets classical standards, includes two originals, and overall is inspired by a romantic South American sensibility. Do they pull it off? Yes, with a big assist from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as Grusin transcribes and arranges Faure, Ravel, Albinoni and Handel, all of whom, if they were alive today, might also be composing the lush movie scores that Grusin composes with ease.
Sizzling from start to finish, “Harlequin” is the result of one of the most intuitive partnerships in the world of jazz. Although Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin had been working together for a decade, “Harlequin” is regarded by the two musicians as their first genuine recorded collaboration, whereby from original concept, through selection of tracks and personnel to arrangements and mixing, it was truly a joint effort. Included in the top ten best jazz recordings ever by a noted poll, “Harlequin” is a blend of smoldering Brazilian rhythms and moods with a freshness and verve that brings on a tingle of excitement each time it is played. The scintillating jazz fusion of “Harlequin” includes added spice in the form of a major contribution by Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivan Lins who appears on three tracks.(grusin.net)
Released in 1979, “Feel the Night” belongs to a string of albums that definitely established Lee Ritenour as one of the world’s best and most sought after guitar players. All but one track are original jazz/fusion instrumentals written by Ritenour and Don Grusin and perfectly played by the guitar superstar with strong support from the usual suspects. Among the cast of session aces are keyboardists like David Foster, Joe Sample and Dave Grusin with Steve Gadd and Abe Laboriel driving the pulsing rhythm section.
Lee Ritenour's Rhythm Sessions is, in a roundabout way, a companion album to 2010's Six String Theory. For that record, he sought out a slew of guitar greats to celebrate their joint love for the instrument. Here, Ritenour assembles another top-flight cast for a set of tunes that range from fusion to pop, from contemporary jazz to post-bop and more. "The Village" places the guitarist with George Duke, Stanley Clarke, drummer Dave Weckl, and percussionist Munyungo Jackson. The fusion groove is nocturnal, slippery, even bluesy. Kurt Elling joins Dave Grusin, Nathan East, and Will Kennedy for an elegant reading of Nick Drake's "River Man." This utterly unique recording in the contemporary jazz genre is a fine showcase for his skills as a bandleader.