Lee Ritenour

One of the great jazz guitarists and fusion pioneers, Lee Ritenour's dextrous finger work and willingness to adapt to different styles made him a superstar, not only in jazz circles but beyond, and much in demand for session work. Raised in California, Ritenour was 16 when his sophisticated playing first brought him to wider attention and he was hired on his first recording session with The Mamas And The Papas. It led to a recording career in his own right, and he made his first album First Course - a jazz funk fusion - in 1976. Subsequent albums Captain Fingers (1978) and Feel The Night (1979) pursued crossover territory as he experimented with effects pedals and synthesizers and was brought in to play on Pink Floyd's The Wall. Through the 1980s Ritenour experimented further, using both pop and classical influences on albums like Rit (1982), Banded Together (1984), Harlequin (1985) and Earth Run (1986) and collaborated with various other artists, including The Yellowjackets and Kenny G on Portrait (1987). By the end of the decade he'd strongly embraced Brazilian influences, notably on Festival (1988) and then collaborated with another guitarist Larry Carlton on Larry & Lee (1994). He also formed the contemporary jazz group Fourplay with keyboard player Bob James and by the 2000s was continuing to explore new musical areas; even including his 13-year-old son Wesley playing drums on his 2006 album Smoke N' Mirrors, featuring a popular cover of Bill Withers' Lovely Day. Celebrating 50 years as a professional musician in 2010, Ritenour released the highly acclaimed 6 String Theory, with guest contributions from George Benson, B.B. King, Neal Schon and Steve Lukather.

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