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Lee Ritenour

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Bio

Known to fans as "Captain Fingers" for his uncommon dexterity on the guitar, Lee Ritenour is a noted jazz artist and session musician who has been one of the leaders in his field since the early '70s. Born in Los Angeles, California on January 11, 1952, Ritenour took up the guitar when he was eight years old, and decided to make music his career when he was 12. Ritenour's parents were supportive of his ambitions, and arranged for him to study with some of the best guitar teachers in Southern California. At 15, he joined a rock band called the Esquires, and when John Phillips heard Ritenour at work, he invited him to play on an upcoming session by the Mamas and the Papas; it was the first record date for the 16-year-old guitarist. While Ritenour's tastes were eclectic and he worked with a number of rock and soul artists, he had a special passion for jazz, citing Wes Montgomery as a key influence, and within a few years he was playing prestigious gigs with the likes of Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. Ritenour took time off from his career to attend the University of Southern California, where he studied classical guitar under Christopher Parkening, but he returned to work after two-and-a-half years. By the mid-'70s, Ritenour was one of the top session musicians in Los Angeles, lending his talents to albums by the likes of Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Natalie Cole, the Bee Gees, and Quincy Jones, as well as jazz projects with Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Alphonso Johnson, and Stanley Turrentine. Ritenour also had a keen interest in Brazilian and Latin sounds; he toured with Sergio Mendes in 1973, and recorded with Flora Purim, Gato Barbieri, and Paulinho Da Costa. In 1976, Ritenour stepped into the spotlight with his first solo album, First Course, a polished jazz-pop effort released by Epic Records. After cutting four albums for Epic, Ritenour moved to the Elektra-distributed Discovery imprint with 1978's The Captain's Journey, the first of seven albums he'd cut for Elektra and its offshoots. In 1985, Ritenour recorded Harlequin with pianist Dave Grusin; the two would become frequent collaborators, and Grusin's GRP label would release the lion's share of Ritenour's solo work well into the 21st century. In 1990, Ritenour played on the sessions for Bob James' album Grand Piano Canyon, along with bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason; the musicians enjoyed working together so much they formed a group, and Ritenour, James, East, and Mason released their first album as Fourplay in 1991. The Fourplay album was a significant commercial success, and Ritenour would cut two more LPs with the combo, 1993's Between the Sheets and 1994's Elixir, before exiting the group, with Larry Carlton taking his place. While Ritenour maintained a busy schedule with his solo work and his projects with Dave Grusin and Bob James, he continued to do frequent session work (it has been estimated Ritenour has played on 3,000 different recordings) as well as performing live around the world. In 2005, Ritenour changed labels, releasing his album Overtime with Concord Records, and in 2010, he issued Six String Theory, in which he collaborated with a diverse range of fellow guitarists, including B.B. King, George Benson, Keb' Mo', Pat Martino, and many more. 2012 found Ritenour releasing another collaborative effort, Rhythm Sessions, which included a number of stellar guest artists (Dave Grusin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Chick Corea, and Patrice Rushen among them) along with the winners of a musical talent competition Ritenour organized in 2010. In 2015, Ritenour returned with A Twist of Rit, which featured new songs, plus reworkings of cuts off his 1975 debut, First Course, and 1981 offering, Rit. ~ Mark Deming
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Albums by
Lee Ritenour

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    12 songs

    On Air

    Rhythm Sessions

    13 songs

    On Air

    Overtime

    15 songs

    On Air

    6 String Theory

    13 songs

    On Air

    Amparo

    14 songs

    On Air

    Smoke 'N' Mirrors

    10 songs

    On Air

    Rit/2

    12 songs

    On Air

    Rit's House

    11 songs

    On Air

    This Is Love

    11 songs

    On Air

    Larry & Lee

    10 songs

    On Air

    Banded Together

    10 songs

    On Air

    Rit

    10 songs

    On Air

    Wes Bound

    10 songs

    On Air

    Portrait

    10 songs

    On Air

    Color Rit

    7 songs

    On Air

    The Captain's Journey

    7 songs

    On Air

    Feel the Night

    9 songs

    On Air

    Earth Run

    8 songs

    On Air

    Stolen Moments

    9 songs

    On Air

    Festival

    7 songs

    On Air

    Captain Fingers

    12 songs

    On Air

    A Twist of Rit

    15 songs

    On Air

    Rhythm Sessions

    5 songs

    On Air

    Rhino Hi-Five: Lee Ritenour

    12 songs

    On Air

    A Twist of Jobim [Bonus Track]

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Top Songs by
Lee Ritenour

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   River Man featuring Dave Grusin
  3.   A Little Bumpin'
  4.   Night Rhythms
  5.   The Village
  6.   Twist of Rit
  7.   Wes Bound
  8.   Early A.M. Attitude by Dave Grusin
  9.   Bullet Train
  10.   Stolen Moments
  11.   Am I Wrong featuring Keb' Mo'
  12.   Shape of My Heart featuring Andy McKee
  13.   L.P. (For Les Paul) featuring Joey DeFrancesco
  14.   Bahia Funk
  15.   Punta del Soul
  16.   Is It You?
  17.   A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That
  18.   Fat Albert Rotunda
  19.   Ooh Yeah
  20.   This Is Love
  21.   Maybe Tomorrow
  22.   Dolphins Don't Dance
  23.   Mr. Briefcase
  24.   Water to Drink (Agua de Beber)
  25.   Povo
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Lee Ritenour

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz

    On Air

    Smooth Jazz Instrumentals

    On Air

    Modern Jazz

    On Air

    Modern Blues

    On Air

    New Age

    On Air

    Jazz

    On Air

    Classic Jazz [Non-Voc]

    On Air

    Acid Jazz

    On Air

    Classic Jazz


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