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 goes techno/pop/rock on an album originally released on the pop Elektra label – and as such is not recommended to jazz fans with a low tolerance for the stuff. Here Captain Fingers extends his reach to play keyboards and programmed electronic drums on a few tracks, along with very competent rock guitar .
GRAMMY-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. Based on the wildly popular A Twist of… series that Ritenour curated for the GRP imprint, A Twist of Rit has the artist not reimagining Bob Marley, Jobim, or Motown but rather reimagining his own catalog of hits. There will also be a few new Ritenour compositions. Like the original Twist Of… series this will be an all-star affair featuring: John Beasley, Dave Grusin, Patrice Rushen, Ernie Watts, Melvin Lee Davis, Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson, David T. Walker, Makoto Ozone, Tom Kennedy, Dave Weckl, Paulinho Da Costa, Ronald Bruner Jr., Chris Coleman, Bob Sheppard and Rashawn Ross.
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.
Portrait is predominantly a series of encounters between Ritenour and several guest interlopers, presumably to provide a well-rounded stylistic composite. The more heartening result is the acceleration of Ritenour's growth into a tastier, more musical guitarist, whether in the lead or sharing the spotlight.