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Alive In L.A.

Lee Ritenour

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Album Review

Jazz being the most spontaneous and improvisational of all musical forms, it's often best appreciated in a live setting, where artistry can take over for commercial considerations and jamming for minutes on end is encouraged. Lee Ritenour has enhanced his pop-jazz catalog in recent years with projects featuring tunes that would lend themselves to such creative stretching, and so wraps up his long run at GRP with Alive in L.A., a brilliantly realized, no-overdubs-allowed ensemble date that delves into his diverse interests, from Brazilian to straight-ahead trio jazz and blues. Fans who know him best from his lighthearted radio fare may just be astounded at his chops, which do proud the grand traditions of his idol Wes Montgomery, and even try to reach a bit beyond. Recorded over three nights at the Ash Grove in Santa Monica, CA, Ritenour finds a gang of musicians even more explosive than his Fourplay pals in saxman Bill Evans (who wails heartily on Wes Montgomery's odd metered "4 on 6"), keyboardists Alan Pasqua and Barnaby Finch, and drummer Sonny Emory. Rit's clearly in charge, but it's the energetic company he keeps that makes this a hard-grooving, unforgettable date.

Customer Reviews

Lee Ritenour The Review

This has to be one of the greatest of all time smooth jazz albums that is a must for any collection. Lee Ritenour imho is one of the greatest Jazz guitarist of our generation. I have read reviews of music critics that pan him as in "While he possesses impressive technique, Ritenour has mostly played instrumental pop throughout his career, sometimes with a Brazilian flavor. His few jazz efforts have found him essentially imitating Wes Montgomery, but despite that he has been consistently popular since the mid-'70s.he was greatly inspired by Wes Montgomery." What poppycock! The review doesn't even scratch the surface of his talent. My best advice is to listen with your ears. From the slight nuances to the soulful rythms that he blends his instrument to lighten your heart. (Pacific Nights) Lee has evolved. Yes this album does have Wes retakes. However, I am a big Wes fan, but if I had my druthers, I would chose Lee any day of the week over most of the original songs. Night Rhythms is one of my favs as well as San Juan Sunset. If you have a chance, check out the orginal Wes Montgomery songs to Lee Ritenour and you to will appreciate how much someone did retakes on a class act.


Born: January 11, 1952 in Hollywood, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

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....
Full Bio
Alive In L.A., Lee Ritenour
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