With over 40 albums and 35 chart songs on his belt  guitarist Lee Ritenour is one of the most important and popular musicians of the smooth jazz and contemporary jazz scene. As a founding member of the all-star smooth jazz group Fourplay he wrote music history.

Although Lee loves to compose new songs, he had a greater interest in re-arranging several of his previous albums he wanted to free from the dust of the past.

Some of his fellow musicians shared the joy of reinventing the old stuff including keyboardists John Beasley, Dave Grusin and Patrice Rushen; saxophonists Ernie Watts and Bob Sheppard; bassists Melvin Lee Davis, Tom Kennedy and Dave Weckl;  percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, drummers Ronald Bruner Jr. and Chris Coleman, Rashawn Ross playing flugelhorn, further the newcomers guitarists Michael Thompson, Wah Wah Watson and David T. Walker, and pianist Makoto Ozone.

With the first song Wild Rice Ritenour goes way back to his very first album First Course (1976). The original track has an edgy fusion funk feeling. The new concept has the focus on Rit's modulated guitar with additional clavinet and synthesizers by John Beasley and an exquisite solo on Fender Rhodes by Patrice Rushen.

On Fatback Lee saved the vintage sound of the original by using the original horn arrangement of Tom Scott and the instruments like Wurlitzer performed by John Beasley and the Hammond B3 played by Dave Gruisin. 1998 Lee recorded the album This Is Love, from which he takes the song Ooh Yeah. The re­interpretation slows down and sounds smoother. Lee comments꞉ “John Beasley and I decided to try and recreate the laidback feel where the drums are way behind the beat and put a different hump on it″.

With W.O.R.K.n' IT Lee chooses a more jazz blues approach giving his guitar a distorted sound with some dissonant chords here and there. Weckl lets it swing, while Makoto Ozone grooves on the Hammond B3. A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That is taken from Lee's album Rio (1979). The piece is played now straight, whereby the horn arrangement of Michael Omartian get more sophisticated drive.

The Latin tinged Pearl is a new song dedicated to Rit's mother. As well fresh from the sheet comes the ultra groovy Twist Of Rit featuring Wah Wah Watson with the extra potion funky guitar. Countdown in the refurbished version sounds moderate, while the original from his album Rit has a raw and more vivid treat with some talk box and hall effects. Also recommendable the various renowned live videos with Phil Perry and at the JVC Jazz Festival in Newport.

Soaring is like a mature wine. Sweet in the preliminary marks, jazzy in the draft. For this already ensures tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts. Sweet Syncopation from the album First Course receives an exiting revival. Bullet Train is an interpretation of the original from the album Friendship. Striking is the different intonation by the saxophonist Watts. Waltz For Carmen from the album Stolen Moments (1990) is a Latin influenced piece featuring Tony Pusztai, the Grand Prix Winner of Lee Ritenour's 2014 Six String Theory competition, on classical guitar.

With A Twist Of Rit Lee Ritenour bears a vibrant witness about his outstanding technical excellence and his high compositional skills which he has kept all these years.







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Album Information

Title: A Twist Of Rit
Artist: Lee Ritenour
Year: 2015
Length: 1:10:27
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Concord Records


01 Wild Rice [5:33]
02 Fatback [5:52]
03 Ooh Yeah [5:01]
04 W.O.R.K.n' IT (Weckl, Ozone, Ritenour, Kennedy) [7:51]
05 A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That [5:37]
06 Pearl [4:50]
07 Twist Of Rit [5:38]
08 Countdown [4:51]
09 Soaring [8:11]
10 Sweet Syncopation [5:28]
11 Bullet Train [6:36]
12 Waltz For Carmen [4:58]

Further reviews:

Rits' House

6 String Theory