335

Lee Ritenour: Smoke n' Mirrors

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
Lee Ritenour: Smoke n' Mirrors If travel is a broadening experience for the average Joe, it must be positively a revelation for the restless artist. Such is the case for Lee Ritenour, a musician who abandoned the comfort zone of cranking out innocuous jams for the far more risky territory of fusing world beat with contemporary jazz.

In 2005, the guitarist performed in a series of concerts in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. The trip left such an impression upon him that for Smoke n' Mirrors he invited a host of musicians from South Africa, Cameroon, Brazil, Columbia, Peru and India. He added a host of prominent seasoned pros to the eclectic mix, including Dave Grusin, John Patitucci, Patrice Rushen and Richard Bona. In search of different sounds, Ritenour also added nine percussionists and played twelve different guitars on the album.

"The concept for the album came from a lot of different sources, all of which coalesced with my trip to South Africa," Ritenour says. The result is a lively blending of what Ritenour dubs "world flavor," and it should be well-received by listeners who demand more from music than reheated riffs and vapid reworkings of familiar tunes.

That extra "flavor" is what takes the reinterpreting of Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" and Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" a notch above the humdrum. Both of these songs are staples of classic R&B radio, but not with a South African vocalist (Zamajobe) providing the lead vocals. Rushen herself provides the backing vocals to "Forget Me Nots," also adding a shimmering electric piano and organ solo.

The problem for someone like Lee Ritenour is that unless listeners have kept up, they may be operating on an outdated presumption of the type of music he makes. A song like "Capetown" or "Waters Edge" is far removed Ritenour's days as a founding member of Fourplay—and while the sound may remain familiar, Ritenour is obviously still growing and evolving as a musician.

Is he still channeling his inner Wes Montgomery? Sure, as he aptly illustrates on Freddie Hubbard's "Povo," but so what? At this point in his career, Ritenour knows precisely what he can and can't get away with. In any case, Smoke n' Mirrors is a vigorous performance by an artist who's still pushing himself and his listeners to try something bold and new, instead of tried and true.


Track Listing: Smoke n' Mirrors; Capetown; Southwest Passage; Waters Edge; Spellbinder; Memeza; Povo; Lovely Day; Township; Forget Me Nots; Stone Cool; Motherland; 4 1/2 Storms.

Personnel: Lee Ritenour: acoustic and electric guitars, bass, synth bass, keyboards and programming; Melvin Davis: 6-string electric bass; Richard Bona: electric bass, shaker, bass fills; Vinnie Colaiuta: drums; Sheila E.: Korg wave drum, Alex Acuna: bongos, congas, percussion; Dave Grusin: acoustic piano; John Patitucci:acoustic bass; Paulinho Da Costa: percussion; Daniel Jobim: keyboards; Danilo Caymmi: flutes; Brian Bromberg: acoustic bass; Satnam Ramgotra: tablas; Erik Pilani Paliani: acoustic and electric guitars; Wesley Ritenour: drums; Tlale Makhene: percussion; Alberto Lopez: wood percussion; Patrice Rushen: Fender Rhodes piano; Oscar Seaton: drums; Steve Tavaliogne: soprano saxophone, EWI, alto flute; Abraham Laboriel: electric bass; Mea Noite: percussion; Daniel Jobin: vocals, background vocals; Joyce Zamajobe: vocals, background vocals; Erik Pilani Paliani: vocals, background vocals; Patrice Rushen: vocals, background vocals; Tita Lima: vocals, background vocals,

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Peak Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "The Brothers Brown:  Dusty Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Brothers Brown: Dusty Road
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "Les Rhincéros III" CD/LP/Track Review Les Rhincéros III
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon" CD/LP/Track Review Nine Dances Of Patrick O’Gonogon
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Umbra" CD/LP/Track Review Umbra
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!