Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin
Individually and as a collaborative duo, guitarist Lee Ritenour and keyboardist Dave Grusin have moved between the worlds of jazz and film. Their groundbreaking collaborations – including 1983’s On the Line, the Grammy Award–winning Harlequin from 1986, 2000’s Both Worlds, and 2008’s classical album Amparo – harken back to their time in the ’70s, when you could find the duo jamming on Tuesday nights at the famed Baked Potato, with heavy hitters like Al Jarreau, Joe Sample, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan among the audience.
Ritenour grew up in Los Angeles and began contributing to sessions while still in his teens. Nicknamed “Captain Fingers,” he was only 16 when he sat in with the Mamas and Papas; just a few years later he was backing up Tony Bennett and Lena Horne. The guitarist has racked up 17 Grammy nominations, twice won Guitar Player Magazine’s Best Studio Guitarist award, and amassed a list of credits that includes work with Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Simon & Garfunkel, Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Aretha Franklin, and Barbra Streisand. His solo albums yielded the Top 15 hit “Is It You” – an FM radio jazz standard – and his work with Kenny G and the Yellowjackets earned him a strong following among smooth jazz audiences. In 1991, he formed Fourplay with pianist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. His most recent album, A Twist of Rit, finds the guitarist exploring his varied back catalog.
As a composer, Dave Grusin stands as one of the most recognizable forces in cinematic music. Since starting out in the late ’60s, he’s scored more than 75 films, including The Graduate, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Tootsie, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond. He’s earned 12 Grammy Awards and multiple nominations, and has worked as an arranger and producer with Quincy Jones, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and many more, all while recording jazz fusion and contemporary classical music. In 1978, Grusin founded GRP Records with Larry Rosen with the mission of expanding the notions of jazz, issuing albums by artists like Earl Klugh, Dave Valentin, and Bernard Wright, as well as works by Lee Ritenour and Grusin himself. 2018 sees the release of the documentary Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time, which will illustrate the composer’s journey from his youth in Littleton, Colorado, to his silver screen fame.
Individually and as collaborators, Ritenour and Grusin achieve a balance between the orbiting worlds of jazz and classical.