The Best of Lee Ritenour
First Appeared at The Music Box, January 2004, Volume 11, #1
Written by John Metzger
Lee Ritenour got his start touring with Brazilian lounge-pop artist Sergio Mendes in 1973. It was there that he met composer/producer/arranger Dave Grusin, beginning a fruitful relationship that made Ritenour a highly sought-after session guitarist. Throughout his 30-year career, Ritenour has performed on a wide array of jazz, blues, and pop recordings, working with artists as diverse as Steely Dan, B.B. King, Kenny Loggins, George Benson, Roberta Flack, Bobby "Blue" Bland, John Denver, Carole King, Bill Evans, and Dizzy Gillespie.
Two of Ritenourís first three solo albums (First Course and Captain Fingers) were issued in the mid-í70s by Epic Records, and itís from these outings that The Best of Lee Ritenour is culled. The compilation, which was originally released in 1981, has been digitally remastered and expanded, and it now features eleven tracks, containing all but five of the songs from these two early efforts. Though the guitarist displays his talent throughout The Best of Lee Ritenour, many of the selections fall prey to the same problems that consistently have plagued much of the jazz-fusion genre. His fretwork is sterling, but too frequently it is undermined by the dated, disco-ish string sections, the inoffensively airy arrangements, and the overuse of synthesizers. While some of the songs might please fans of smooth jazz and regular viewers of the Weather Channel, most of them wonít appeal to those seeking something meatier.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2003 The Music Box