The years of a career are so much like the years of life. Sometimes they seem to dash past and you scramble to get a hold on where the time went, other times every single moment holds a landing spot of specialness — a sweet point of memory.
It’s 50-plus years for Lee Ritenour. For the fan and follower, both concepts ring profoundly true. He has been graced with work with major artists of different genres while gracing them with his artistry. These are just some of them: Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, and the band Pink Floyd, and he grooved with the smooth sounds of Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra. While only in his mid-teens, Ritenour played in a recording session with The Mamas & The Papas. So much of his artistry is in the knack and skill with which he blends, enhances, and supports as a co-creator, and engaging musical conspirator, describing himself as “the band guy, the ensemble guy, the collaborative-guitar-player guy.”
There is fortitude in him that is massively impressive. Some years ago, he lost nearly 100 of his guitars as a result of a devastating wildfire that engulfed his home and others in Malibu, Calif. A loss of personal history, memories, and connections. Being forced to practically start over from scratch, determination and his artistry led as he recovered personally and artistically. The emotion in his soundscape is as apparent, if not even more immediately palpable, as a result. Drive and determination are in his signature. It is in the way he plays.