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Lee Ritenour is an American jazz guitarist, who has charted over 30 contemporary jazz hits, and contributed to over 3000 sessions since 1976, debuting with the Mamas & the Papas at the age of 16. As a sideman, he has worked with several notable artists, including: Steely Dan, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, the Bee Gees, Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones. He was also brought in to gear-up Pink Floyd’s ”Run Like Hell”, and ”One of My Turns”, from The Wall in 1979. Known for his dexterity, he was nicknamed Captain Fingers, which was also the title of his third studio album, released in 1977. Other albums include: First Course, Gentle Thoughts, The Captain’s Journey, Rio, Feel the Night, Rit, Harlequin (with Dave Grusin), Earth Run, Portrait, Festival, Color Rit, Stolen Moments, Wes Bound, This is Love, Rit’s House, 6 String Theory, Rhythm Sessions and A Twist of Rit. Other projects include the contemporary jazz quartet, Fourplay, which he co-founded in 1991 with Bob James, and the 6 String Theory Competition, through which young talents are being discovered. The award winning Lee Ritenour has experimented with a wide range of musical styles, merging jazz with elements of pop, rock, funk, Brazilian, blues, and classical. Some of Lee’s hits include: “Is it you?”, “Rio Funk”, “Night Rhythms”, “A Little Bumpin’ “, “Wes Bound”, “Bahia Funk”, and “Mr. Briefcase”.
Chris meets Lee Ritenour in his studio in Los Angeles, who shares: how he grew up in a musical household, started to play the guitar when he was eight, practice, talent, passion, studies, teachers, camps, education, opportunities, gigs, rehearsals, styles, work ethic, inspiration, influences, wanted to be a studio musician, over 3000 sessions, approach, writing, composing, recording, touring, evolving, excitement, The Mamas and the Papas, motto, solo career, First Course, Captain Fingers, A Twist of Rit, over 40 albums, 35 chart hits, legacy, Six String Theory, key projects, Rit, ”Is it you”, ”Mr. Briefcase”, Stolen Moments, Harlequin, Wes Bound, the music business, state of modern music, and more.
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Teachers and knowing his chords - Joe Pass, Barney Kessel and Duke Miller
The Six String Theory album and competition
How Fourplay came about
His love for jazz, and the best way to find the sound
His collaboration with Pink Floyd, and Run Like Hell
On Maurice White, David Foster and If I’m dreaming don’t wake me
Juicing, and why he can’t put down the guitar before a gig
On his signature model, his specially made Les Paul guitar, and on Les Paul