Lee Ritenour

Lee Ritenour has long been the perfect studio musician, one who can melt into the background without making any impact. 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. After touring with Sergio Mendes’ Brasil ’77 in 1973, Ritenour became a very busy studio guitarist in Los Angeles, taking time off for occasional tours with his groups and in the mid-’90s with Bob James in Fourplay. He also recorded many albums as a leader. Over the course of Rit’s milestone thirty recordings, (including 1997’s Alive in L.A., the first time he chronicled his live performances), he has earned several gold albums, numerous #1 spots in guitar polls and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC. Since the 70s, Rit has been a huge presence in a cross-section of radio genres. In 1981, he scored the pop 15 hit “Is It You,” featuring vocalist Eric Tagg, which has also become a smooth jazz radio classic. Most recently, “Get Up Stand Up,” the first single from the A Twist of Marley recording, was the #1 Radio & Records NAC airplay single of 2001. In the 90s, he was a founding member of Fourplay, the most successful band in contemporary jazz, with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. The first Fourplay album in 1991 spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart, while their Grammy-nominated follow-up, Between the Sheets, captured the top slot on the Billboard, R&R, Gavin and NAC charts on its way to a gold sales certification. In addition to producing his own recordings, Ritenour has produced projects for such artists as Eric Marienthal, Phil Perry and Vesta, which were released on his i.e. music label, along with A Twist of Jobim. Additional production credits include Patti Austin, Will Downing and most recently, A Twist of Marley.