RIT Special: Lee Ritenour Live/Steps Ahead: Live in Tokyo (Double Time Jazz Collection, Vol. 6)
Guitarist Lee Ritenour's genre-dipping versatility is displayed on Overtime, a two-disc compilation offering 19 songs from his 30-year career: from the fusion and pop-vocals to the acoustic, Brazilian and smooth jazz. Recorded live over two days before a cozy crowd at Enterprise Studios in L.A., the great treat here is the interaction between Ritenour and the 16 other invited musicians, many of whom played with the guitarist in his early days. Six cameras capture the action, and the audio is mixed in both 5.1 Dolby Digital and 48kHz Discreet Stereo for amazing, you-are-right-there sound. A few of the many highlights from this two-and-a-half-hour set include Ivan Lins' vocals on "Dinorah Dinorah" and "Beyond the Storm," trumpeter Chris Botti on "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and Ritenour--on everything. Interviews with Lee and others, including Patrice Rushen, Dave Hooper and Melvin Davis, help set up several songs.
Ritenour is in a markedly different setting on his portion of volume six in the Double Time Jazz Collection. He's captured in a 1984 performance at the Concord Pavilion in California in the height on his pop-vocal era, and there are some classic Rit moments, such as the grandeur of "Heavenly Bodies" and the fluidness of "Amaretto." Though Phil Perry is top-notch on "Is It You?" there are just too many forgettable vocals tunes that Perry and John Massaro are unable to save. The second half of this DVD features Steps Ahead in 1986 giving a real taste of jazz-fusion, and it's a treat to watch the energy of saxophonist Michael Brecker, vibist Mike Mainieri, guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Steve Smith.