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Lee Ritenour

Known to fans as "Captain Fingers" for his uncommon dexterity on the guitar, Lee Ritenour is a noted jazz artist and session musician who has been one of the leaders in his field since the early '70s. Born in Los Angeles, California on January 11, 1952, Ritenour took up the guitar when he was eight years old, and decided to make music his career when he was 12. Ritenour's parents were supportive of his ambitions, and arranged for him to study with some of the best guitar teachers in Southern California. At 15, he joined a rock band called the Esquires, and when John Phillips heard Ritenour at work, he invited him to play on an upcoming session by the Mamas and the Papas; it was the first record date for the 16-year-old guitarist. While Ritenour's tastes were eclectic and he worked with a number of rock and soul artists, he had a special passion for jazz, citing Wes Montgomery as a key influence, and within a few years he was playing prestigious gigs with the likes of Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. Ritenour took time off from his career to attend the University of Southern California, where he studied classical guitar under Christopher Parkening, but he returned to work after two-and-a-half years. By the mid-'70s, Ritenour was one of the top session musicians in Los Angeles, lending his talents to albums by the likes of Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Natalie Cole, the Bee Gees, and Quincy Jones, as well as jazz projects with Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Alphonso Johnson, and Stanley Turrentine. Ritenour also had a keen interest in Brazilian and Latin sounds; he toured with Sergio Mendes in 1973, and recorded with Flora Purim, Gato Barbieri, and Paulinho Da Costa.

In 1976, Ritenour stepped into the spotlight with his first solo album, First Course, a polished jazz-pop effort released by Epic Records. After cutting four albums for Epic, Ritenour moved to the Elektra-distributed Discovery imprint with 1978's The Captain's Journey, the first of seven albums he'd cut for Elektra and its offshoots. In 1985, Ritenour recorded Harlequin with pianist Dave Grusin; the two would become frequent collaborators, and Grusin's GRP label would release the lion's share of Ritenour's solo work well into the 21st century. In 1990, Ritenour played on the sessions for Bob James' album Grand Piano Canyon, along with bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason; the musicians enjoyed working together so much they formed a group, and Ritenour, James, East, and Mason released their first album as Fourplay in 1991. The Fourplay album was a significant commercial success, and Ritenour would cut two more LPs with the combo, 1993's Between the Sheets and 1994's Elixir, before exiting the group, with Larry Carlton taking his place. While Ritenour maintained a busy schedule with his solo work and his projects with Dave Grusin and Bob James, he continued to do frequent session work (it has been estimated Ritenour has played on 3,000 different recordings) as well as performing live around the world. In 2005, Ritenour changed labels, releasing his album Overtime with Concord Records, and in 2010, he issued Six String Theory, in which he collaborated with a diverse range of fellow guitarists, including B.B. King, George Benson, Keb' Mo', Pat Martino, and many more. 2012 found Ritenour releasing another collaborative effort, Rhythm Sessions, which included a number of stellar guest artists (Dave Grusin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Chick Corea, and Patrice Rushen among them) along with the winners of a musical talent competition Ritenour organized in 2010. In 2015, Ritenour returned with A Twist of Rit, which featured new songs, plus reworkings of cuts off his 1975 debut, First Course, and 1981 offering, Rit. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Maybe Tomorrow (Single)

Comments

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philippepelu s o
Saw Lee at Humphrey's in San Diego in the 80's and he was fantastic!
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My oh my! Awesome classic CAPTAIN FINGERS live! : )
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Love this song, keep up the great work
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cee-oh
Borrowed "Captain Fingers" from a barracks mate in 1978; immediately became a fan, still!
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...has his own sound...very all to his own.....
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See him live if you are able.
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vipermike021 7
I am unable to put into words what Lee puts out in music :-)
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Deep inside
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tcsgolfs
Stolen Moments indeed! Love when he plays this style of jazz. His Wes Bound homage to Wes Montgomery is an all time favorite.
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Artie1940

Mr. Rite our, you are truly one of the greatest. Listening to you sends me to great places!!!!
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Here's something we can all agree upon, "One of a kind", such talent occurs every once in awhile, come as you may, his music speaks for itself and it will last for all time to come,
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A jazz master
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My main man "Captain fimgers" can play no wrong.Splend i d musician outstanding blessed artist!
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billycasehan d y
Guitar god
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Excelente... . .
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I saw him play solo at Toad's Place in Bridgeport, CT in the mid eighties to an audience of 80 very lucky people. We sat in folding chairs, completely awe struck. I've loved his music for decades. Go Rit!
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Very dynamic guitarist really liked his first albums. Saw him live he is a treat to see perform keep going Lee you have a fan in me
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Finally got back to my favorite kind of music..!!!!! ! ! ! ! !
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Finally got back to my favorite kind of music!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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just say wow over and over ....
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Very nice piece of music
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That's what's up Rit!!!
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bakkacorpora t i o n
Lou goes where others date not go unless God has blessed your hands like LOU
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johnmargie6
Always a favorite for me long time!
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Thanks for your birthday shows at the Catalina last weekend. As I asked Patrice to share with you my sentiment after the second Saturday set, Thank you for making tonight everyone's birthday for all of us in attendance. What a celebration! What a Party! What Music!
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Ive enjoyed Lee since the 70's, I have the original captain fingers album!!!
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buboot21
Great Jazz, such a sit on your porch and relax song.
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I really appreciate the new bio! I was taken aback that Pandora would have someone write a bio for a musician that obviously didn't even care for the class of music they play nor have respect for those who excel in that niche!
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gardenofmone y
lee is one of the greats.
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..another great one from Lee.He sure can play the guitar.....
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..here we go again......a n o t h e r great from Lee......... .
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WOW u guys r losers no offense
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Love all his albums, amazing
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LEE IS AWESOME!!
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I been a Fan of Lee Ritenour For Years...He's a Bad Cat
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SEE BHITV.NET JOIN TODAY. HOT NEW SITE. EBLAST IT,TWIT,FB IT TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS AND HAVE THEM TO DO THE SAME.
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..like hisCaptain Fingers...an d rightly so........
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a Jazz Superstar,he plays like a god,a must see live artist.
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jcooperbower s
I saw him play last week at a little club with Mike Stern. He's as good as ever.
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Hooray, Yanow has gone! :-) Pandora listened to us and got rid of him.
The new bio of Ritenour was written by Mark Deming whose critique makes much more sense.
Report as inappropriate
Look at all those protesting comments against Yanow's negative critique of Ritenour!!!
Ritenour is a legend, and is this (the critique by Yanow) what he gets for his bio? Yanow writes this type of criticism on other extremely talented musicians too; he must be having a bad life, or he is jealous of those with such fantastic talent! What could he offer anyway? Obviously, he is incapable of appreciating great music and musicians. Shame on him; he's got to go!
Report as inappropriate
This bio is a joke. One who can melt into the background without making any impact...are you kidding me? What's up Scott? Didn't Lee give you a big enough tip when you were waiting tables? What a chump.
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Great Musician
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weasone20
ITS REALLY DEEP TO MY SOUL AND IT MOVES ME TOO.
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I couldnt agree more!!!!
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wayne.fuller
I saw Lee Ritenour years ago when he toured with a group called 'The LA Allstars.' He blew me away with his versatility, various styles, musicality, and styles. He stood out that night. I've never forgotten that performance and his playing.
Report as inappropriate
Another Scott Yanow bio that way underplays the musician's talent. Ritenour has produced a body of music that's rich, inventive and diverse. Blend into the background? When was that a defining criteria of excellent musicianship ? ? C'mon...Rite n o r ' s great! Period.
Report as inappropriate
he has done some things that might remind one of Wes,but that was a very shallow review,a competent listenable guitarist.
Report as inappropriate
sandywatchie
What is up with the nasty bio? I'm thinking maybe the reviewer should melt into the background and keep his personal opinions and biases in his back pocket and simply offer the Pandora audience what we want - the musician's background not a nameless, snarky review. This really irked me.
Report as inappropriate
This bio is extremely disrespectfu l ! The whole thing is a diss, probably written when the bio guy was cranky and tired.
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