Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

396

Lee Ritenour: 6 String Theory

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
The very gift that makes a session musician great can also be a curse. Oftentimes expected to be chameleon-like, it's that very act of becoming a credible musical shape-shifter that can sometimes lead to a loss of individuality. Lee Ritenour is a consummate and complete guitarist if ever there was one; his varied discography supporting a seemingly insatiable appetite for anything to do with the six-stringed instrument and all its variations. Often (and, in many cases, unfairly) linked too heavily with a genre that he helped formulate in the mid-to-late 1970s through his own "fusion lite" albums like Captain Fingers (Epic, 1977), to call Ritenour a smooth jazz guitarist would be unfairly exclusionary, as 6 String Theory proves in spades.

Not that there's anything wrong with smooth, but there's none to be found amidst 6 String Theory's multiplicity of styles, all-star guests and a cohesion surprising for an album so eclectic. Instead, Ritenour goes for the throat with some down-and-dirty blues ("Give Me One Reason," featuring guitar slingers/blues beltersRobert Cray and Joe Bonamassa) and mainstream jazz (the incendiary "L.P.," with Ritenour joined by straight-ahead hero Pat Martino and organist Joey DeFrancesco, and a swinging "Moon River," with the equally mislabelled George Benson in full-out bop mode). There's some pedal-to-the-metal guitar pyrotechnics when Steve Lukather, Neal Schon and Slash get together for the high octane shuffle of "'68'"; a classier blues, "Why I Sing the Blues," where elder statesman B.B. King is joined by relative youngsters Keb' Mo', Jonny Lang and Vince Gill, who not only turns in a searing solo, but as impassioned a vocal turn as his partners. And just to prove he still can do it, there's a nod to Jeff Beck on Max Middleton's classic boogie, "Freeway Jam," where Ritenour tears it up with Mike Stern and Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei, supported by legendary British drummer Simon Phillips.

There are also nods to the acoustic side with guest steel-stringers Joe Robinson and Andy McKee. A guitar competition as well as a CD, 6 String Theory closes with its winner, classical guitarist Shon Boubil, performing two Legnani "Caprices."

The entire set kicks off with Ritenour's funky "Lay It Down," capably sharing the bill with contemporary John Scofield. As well as Ritenour plays here and throughout 6 String Theory—humbly leaving more than ample room for his guests as he appears, in fact, on only eight of the album's fifteen tracks and never dominates—it highlights the disc's one and only flaw: Ritenour plays undeniably well throughout, but it's the very strength of the voices around him that highlights his own lack of one. It's hard to criticize a player so accomplished and so diverse, but while many of his guests will be remembered for their distinctive musical personalities, it's far more likely that Ritenour's legacy will be as an exceptionally talented chameleon, capable of fitting into any context—not, by any means, a shabby accomplishment, however, and especially when the result is as thoroughly enjoyable as 6 String Theory.

Track Listing: Lay It Down; Am I Wrong; L.P. (for Les Paul); Give Me One Reason; "68"; In Your Dreams; My One and Only Love; Moon River; Why I Sing the Blues;] Daddy Longlegs; Shape of My Heart; Drifting; Freeway Jam; Fives; Caprice, Op. 20, No. 2 and 7.

Personnel: Lee Ritenour: guitar (1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13), nylon string electric guitar (11), arrangement (1-3, 6, 9, 11-13); John Scofield: guitar (1); Harvey Mason: drums (1, 2, 9); Melvin Lee Davis: bass (1, 13); Larry Goldings: organ (1, 5, 14), Fender Rhodes (2, 9), clavinet (2), Wurlitzer (4); Nathan East: bass (2, 9); Keb' Mo': guitar (2, 9), vocals (2, 9), arrangement (2, 9); Taj Mahal: guitar (2), vocals (2); Will Kennedy: drums (3, 8, 11); Pat Martino: guitar (3); Joey DeFrancesco: organ (3, 8); Joe Bonamassa: guitar (4), vocals (4), arrangement (4); Robert Cray: guitar (4), vocals (4); Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (4-6, 14); Tal Wilkenfeld: bass (4-6, 14); Steve Lukather: guitar (5, 6, 11), arrangement (5, 6, 11); Neal Schon: guitar (5, 6); Slash: guitar (5); George Benson: guitar (7, 8), arrangement (7, 8); B.B. King: guitar (9), vocals (9); Vince Gill: guitar (9), vocals (9); Jonny Lang: guitar (9), vocals (9); Joe Robinson: guitar (10), arrangement (10); Andy McKee: steel string acoustic guitar (11), guitar (12), arrangement (12); Paulinho Da Costa: percussion (11, 12); Jimmy Johnson: bass (11, 12); John Beasley: keyboards (11, 12), Fender Rhodes (13); Mike Stern: guitar (13); Simon Phillips: drums (13); Tomoyasu Hotei: guitar (13); Guthrie Govan: guitar (14), arrangement (14); Shon Boublil: guitar (15).

Title: 6 String Theory | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Gentle Giants" CD/LP/Track Review Gentle Giants
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "The Seasons" CD/LP/Track Review The Seasons
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "History Of The Lisbon Chaplaincy" CD/LP/Track Review History Of The Lisbon Chaplaincy
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 13, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "My Tongue Crumbles After" CD/LP/Track Review My Tongue Crumbles After
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 1, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor