Lee Ritenour – This is love

Lee RitenourThis Is Love
Lee Ritenour

Hot. A Twist of Jobim, the tribute recording which launched the i.e. Music label in June 1997 is a hot album. Lee Ritenour’s solo debut This Is Love comes right on the heels of ‘Jobim’ but shouldn’t suffer in comparison. It is equally Hot. Diversely crossing musical genres with great abandon from bluesy, swinging bebop to deep influences of reggae, classical and urban music to contemporary jazz, the man known by peers and fans alike as “Captain Fingers” adds to a legacy of more than 25 albums in just 22 years.

“Over the years, I have focused many recordings on one specific theme, whether it was Brazilian music (1988’s Festival), straight-ahead jazz (1991 ‘s Stolen Moments), or a tribute to Wes Montgomery (1993’s Wes Bound). On This Is Love, however, I don’t have one specific thread or dedication running throughout. I took a simple, reflective stream-of-consciousness approach to every tune, which I found exhilarating and challenging.”

In addition to featuring some of Los Angeles’ finest studio musicians and longtime friends –  among them saxmen Ernie Watts and Bill Evans, keyboardists Alan Pasqua and Bob James, organist Ronnie Foster, and drummers Sonny Emory and Dave Weckl – Ritenour diverges from his trademark, breezy contemporary jazz style throughout. His more colorful stylistic excursions include the title track, an original reggae tune based upon a classic Bob Marley sample; a blues arrangement of Randy Newman’s offbeat classic “Baltimore” sung by Lisa Fischer; swinging be-bop ensemble arrangements of two classic Sonny Rollins gems, “Street Runner” and “Alfie’s Theme”; and a jazz quartet take on “Pavane,” an impressionistic classical piece written by Gabriel Faure in 1887.