Lee Ritenour

Rio

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Recorded by JVC for the Japanese market, first released in the U.S. by Elektra, and now on GRP, Ritenour's first all-acoustic guitar album was recorded in three far-flung cities with three different bands (how's that for musical chairs in packs of three?). The New York tracks, which feature Dave Grusin (keyboards) and Marcus Miller on popping bass, have a nice genteel funky flavor not unlike Larry Carlton's acoustic albums in the next decade. The Rio tracks, with a Brazilian rhythm section and Don Grusin's keyboards, differ only marginally in feeling, mostly in the use of percussion. Out in Santa Barbara, CA, "Ipanema Sol" sounds even more Brazilian than the Rio tracks, as colored by the flute of Ernie Watts and the percussion battery of Alex Acuna and Steve Forman, while Joe Sample's "It Happens Everyday" closes the set on a lyrical note. For all of its continent-trotting ways, the record is remarkably unified -- thanks in no small part to Ritenour's intelligent, beautifully felt playing -- and makes comfortable listening.

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