Lee Ritenour unveils a new chapter in the legacy of Bob Marley with the release of A Twist of Marley, a collection of that artist's songs that are sung and played by some of contemporary jazz' hottest stars. Ritenour expands on Marley's essence gleaned from the experiences of such international stars as Jonathan Butler, guitarist Marc Antoine, Gerald Albright, Patti Austin, Richard Bona, Rick Braun, Michael Brecker, Will Downing, Lisa Fischer, Dave Grusin, Phil Perry, and Maxi Priest. They cover such great songs as "Exodus," with Lisa Fischer wailing the lead vocals over samples from Bob Marley & the Wailers. This song is so emotional, so awesome, and features that penetrating cry from the inner recesses of her heart and soul. Ritenour has also added the melodic vocals of Maxi Priest on "Waiting in Vain" and the controversial "I Shot the Sheriff," with a fresh contemporary jazz perspective. On the radio hit "Get Up, Stand Up," Lee Ritenour's smooth guitar playing replaces Marley's vocals on the melody but he hasn't lost one iota of the song's omnipresent civil rights theme. His guitar stylings weep softly and gently and then gain in strength and resilience, symbolizing the significance of Marley and Peter Tosh's heartfelt lyrics. On the R&B version of the same song, Jochem and Digz interpret it their way and do a great take on this soul jazz rendition. Both Will Downing and Jonathan Butler bring credibility to the project with their soulful takes on "Is This Love" and "No Woman No Cry." Lee Ritenour's homage to the artist, composer, and humanitarian is derived from his appreciation of Marley's ability to touch him in many ways and his blend of contemporary jazz with Marley's pure reggae, ska. and soulful beats is skillfully realized. A Twist of Marley is a unique gift to the music world and to present and future fans of Bob Marley.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein