In the city it was just another sizzling summer night and, at the upscale Anthology, guitarist Lee Ritenour was playing his part in keeping the temperature high. His appearance at San Diego’s pre-eminent music hotspot was ostensibly in support of his latest CD ‘6 String Theory’ and although for the most part he majored on this interesting and eclectic collection he also found time for some old favorites along the way.
Jazz Review caught the first of his two ‘back to back’ shows where he enthralled the packed and appreciative audience with a performance of rare quality that was helped in no small part by excellent contributions from Melvin Davis on bass, keyboard player Jesse Milliner and Yellowjackets drummer Will Kennedy.
Ritenour’s solo career stretches back to 1976 and includes an illustrious stint as a founder member of the smooth jazz super-group Fourplay. His ‘6 String Theory’ is a celebration of the styles and the musicians that are synonymous with the guitar. It is made that much more effective by the bevy of wonderful players enlisted by Ritenour to support him in the venture and at Anthology he delved into this brand new release for gems such as the high octane ‘Lay It Down’ and the contrastingly cool ‘LP (For Les Paul)’ which was rendered all the more poignant by the fact that Les Paul passed away while ‘6 String Theory’ was being recorded.
One of Ritenour’s milestone albums was his 1992 ‘Wes Bound’ which at the time he used to salute the music of his guitar hero Wes Montgomery and here the title track was given a whole new spin by a massively funky interlude from Davis. Later, when Ritenour switched to the 2001 CD ‘A Twist Of Marley’ for the infectious ‘Get Up Stand Up’, it was Davis who again came up big with his input to this seminal Bob Marley song.
It is interesting to note that, on the original record, Ritenour performed the tune as a duet with the legendary Dave Grusin. When he next takes to the stage, at the Hollywood Bowl on July 21, Grusin (along with Jon Scofield, Keb Mo and Taj Mahal) will be in the line-up. The show should be worth checking out.