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Ritenour, Lee: Overtime (Blu-ray)

Overtime is a near 3-hour live concert from beloved jazz-fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour and friends, recorded over 2 days in a Burbank, California studio in front of a small, select audience. With such a long and storied career, Ritenour had plenty of material to choose from for this project, but he decided to perform songs from just a handful of albums, namely Captain Fingers, Captain's Journey, Rit, Harlequin, Festival, and Wes Bound, which in actuality are some of best selling and most popular in his large back catalog. Some of the top names joining him in this set include Dave Gruisin, Patrice Rushen, Harvey Mason, Anthony Jackson, Chris Botti, Eric Marienthal, Ernie Watts, Ivan Lins, Alex Acuna, and many more.

The main part of the Blu-ray contains 19 songs, so strap yourself in for a lengthy ride of smooth jazz, energetic fusion, pop, R&B, and latin funk. The performances are stellar as to be expected from musicians of this caliber, led by Ritenour's tasty guitar playing throughout. Personally, I've always loved Ritenour's late '70s and early '80s material, so it was a joy to see him performing classics like "Captain Fingers", "Sugarloaf Express", "Morning Glory", 'Night Rhythms", and "Captain Caribe", with longtime associates Gruisin and Rushen contributing classy keyboards alongside him. Lee's impeccable technique and mastery of melody have long made him one of the most respected guitarists in jazz, and he puts on a show here. Great sax work also from Marienthal and Watts, while the ever popular Botti adds in some wonderful trumpet to a few tracks. Bass is divided up between Dave Carpenter, who handles the acoustic bass for the more traditional jazz pieces, Anthony Jackson who is rock solid on the fusiony fare, and Melvin Davis, who lays down the funk on the more groove laden numbers. There are a few vocal pieces as well, some of which are from the Harlequin and Festival albums that featured vocalist/keyboard player Ivan Lins, and he's here to lend his talents yet again on the more acoustic oriented latin flavored songs like "Harlequin", "Beyond the Storm" and "Dinorah Dinorah". The group also does a great cover of the R&B classic "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", originally made famous by The Temptations.

As a bonus you get 4 songs from the 2011 Montreux Jazz Festival appearance, including the wonderful "Wes Bound" (a tribute to the legendary Wes Montgomery) and the blazing "Stolen Moments", which is a real workout for Ritenour. Just as impressive as the performances though is the magificent high definition of this Blu-ray and the stellar audio, which is perhaps the best yet I've seen in this medium. Eagle Ray has once again delivered a stunning display of clarity on this set (even better than the recent Santana release), which makes you feel like you are standing on stage with the musicians. Really, you have to see this to truly experience how good it is. This is what all high definition releases should strive to be. Audio is fantastic, so if you have a decent system you will be able to hear each instrument crystal clear.

Overall this is a practically flawless release. For the longtime Ritenour fan there are 23 songs included here, and quick interviews with Lee and the musicians are injected throughout, giving some insight to the songs and their origins. With one of the best high definition presentations I've seen, this comes highly recommended.

Track Listing
1) Party Time
2) Blue In Green
3) Mizrab
4) Sugarloaf Express
5) Harlequin
6) Beyond The Storm
7) Dinorah Dinorah
8) P.A.L.S.
9) Captain Fingers
10) Morning Glory
11) Captain Caribe
12) Night Rhythms
13) A Little Bumpin'
14) Water To Drink (Agua de Beber)
15) Possibilities
16) Papa Was A Rolling Stone
17) Is It You?
18) Thirteen
19) She Walks This Earth

Bonus Feature-Montreux Jazz Festival 2011
1) Wes Bound
2) Stolen Moments
3) The Firm
4) Lay It Down

Added: June 20th 2012
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Hits: 1944
Language: english

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