The Artistry of… Lee RitenourDiversity for the artist is survival. Survival and adventure and throw in a colourful mix of experience. The base music influences for guitarist and composer Lee Ritenour are an enviable set: jazz, rock and Brazilian music. The experiences include an early start in his teens with the Mamas and the Papas, Lena Horne and Tony Bennett. His experiences have rewarded him nicely, including a 1986 Grammy win with Dave Grusin and many other Grammy nominations. He was a founding member of Fourplay, and the band’s legacy is a well-known contemporary jazz story. I was recently wonderfully lost down a YouTube rabbit hole and found myself grooving to The Love Unlimited Orchestra — that slick, 40-piece, heavily string-oriented pop orchestra, created by the iconic Barry White. The band backed White and the vocal trio Love Unlimited. Ritenour was a member of that band. The flow and feel of disco, with the coolest groove. To add to that cool, there is a Canadian connection for Ritenour: He composed the theme song for the TV series Ramona, a Canadian children’s series starring Sarah Polley based on the book series by Beverly Cleary. Diversity, experience, influence and artistic adventure.
The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.