Jazz guitarist LEE RITENOUR (USA)

01.January

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Grammy award winning American guitarist Lee Ritenour received a rich cross section of exposure to jazz, rock and Brazilian music. Lee Ritenour is considered to be a pioneer in the Contemporary Jazz and jazz-funk genres of music. From rock to blues to jazz, his diverse music became the foundation of over 3,000 sessions as a young guitarist with a broad spectrum of artists such as Pink Floyd (The Wall), Steely Dan (Aja), Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. Not to forget the dazzling array of talent appearing on his solo works and collaborations, notably– Phil Collins, Brazilian greats Ivan Lins, Caetano Veloso, Djavan and Jao Bosco, George Benson, Chaka Kahn, Herbie Hancock, Michael McDonald and opera great Renee Fleming.

Ritenour is being called “Captain Fingers” “Captain Fingers” for his uncommon dexterity on the guitar. “Ritenour is an especially distinctive musician. He has one of the cleanest tones you’ll ever hear from an electric guitar.”

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; 19 Grammy nominations; numerous #1 spots in guitar polls and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC.

In a career that spans five decades 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. 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.

Ritenour’s new album Rhythm Sessions was released last autumn. On Rhythm Sessions Ritenour 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.

“I wanted the various rhythm sections assembled for this album – the guitar, keyboards, bass and drums – to be very organic,” says Ritenour. “The songs I wrote for this project were written with these different musicians in mind, and the songs I picked by other songwriters brought to mind certain players as well. So while my name may be on this record, it’s as much about these other players as it is about me.”

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