Grammy-winning jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour will soon release his first studio album in five years and his first fully solo album ever.
To date, Ritenour has recorded 45 albums and earned 16 Grammy nominations. But Dreamcatcher marks the first time the guitar master has made a record entirely on his own.
“People have been telling me for years: ‘Rit, you gotta make a solo guitar record,’” Ritenour explains. “In the past, I’ve always been the band guy, the ensemble guy, the collaborative guitar player guy. So this was the one project I hadn’t done. And this year, I knew it was time.”
In addition to his extensive and highly regarded body of work as a bandleader and composer, Ritenour’s catalogue includes thousands of sessions with legends such as Frank Sinatra, Pink Floyd, B.B. King and Tony Bennett.
Dreamcatcher will be released Dec. 4. In the meantime, Ritenour has shared two tracks you can hear right now.
The 12 tracks of Dreamcatcher are said to rank amongst the “most melodic and tinglingly beautiful” in Ritenour’s catalogue.
The music is a result of dire yet life-affirming circumstances. In 2018, Ritenour’s house and studio in Malibu, Calif., burnt down. He and his family were safe, but he lost about 100 guitars, 40 amps and lots of his music in the fire. Then a week later, he underwent surgery to replace an aortic valve.
“Those incidents and the support from my family and friends absolutely went into this music,” he says. “Making this record was a life-saver for me.”
The recording of Dreamcatcher also took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Ritenour working out of the makeshift studio at his new home in Marina Del Rey.
“It was an important album for me — especially now, with everything going on in the world,” he says. “I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s an important missing piece in my guitar history. It was inspiring and it was meant to happen this year, in these times. After a lifetime of playing the guitar, this project reaffirmed just how much I love the guitar.”