Lee Ritenour Reveals 6 String Theory......
By: Andrew Reeves
SJM: Can you elaborate a bit on the vision you had for this project, and how it inspired the title of the album?
Lee -– I wanted this to be a very different album. It was a celebration and salute to the guitar. It’s an amazing instrument.
SJM: You partnered with some amazing organizations to create the Yahama Six String Theory Guitar Competition. What were some of the criteria you looked for when choosing the winner?
Lee -– There was very broad range of criteria. Among them were great musicianship, tone, presentation and material. Each of the participants is very talented and did a great job.
SJM: Do you think you will do something similar to this contest on future projects?
Lee -– I’d like to keep the Six String competition going. It’s a great opportunity for the next generation of musicians.
SJM: You brought in some extremely talented artists on this album. How did you choose which artists to work with?
Lee -– The album was really put together like a jigsaw puzzle. I had a nucleus of four or five great artists off the bat. The rest came on over a period of time. They all very graciously accepted and were eager to lend their expertise to the project.
SJM: With all the gifted artists on this album, I can imagine there must have been some great memories during your time in the studio. Is there one in particular that sticks with you?
Lee -– Well, so much work went into putting the project together, that when we were finally in the studio, making the record was easy. All of us had a great time making good music.
SJM: I’m sure each of the tracks on this album holds a special place in your heart. Is one in particular your favorite?
Lee -– Not really. Every track is so very different from the next. You can’t really compare one to the other.
SJM: What music has inspired you during you career? What are you currently listening to?
Lee -– I listen to all guitarists for the most part. I’m also a fan of Paul Desmond and Stan Getz. I listened to a lot of blues while prepping for the record. But, really I’m into all types of music.
SJM: As a musician who is constantly immersed in the music world, is there anything else you draw on for muse?
Lee -– My son Wesley was a great inspiration. Also, all the young talent on YouTube looked at for the Six String competition really had an impact on me.
SJM: With many years under your belt in the music business, seeing jazz evolve and change the way it has, where do you see the genre as a whole headed in the coming decade?
Lee -– I see jazz as a small block of the world. Surprisingly, its gets much less attention in the U.S. Because jazz in particular breaks language barriers, it has a very strong connection all over the world.
SJM: What do you want listeners to take way from this album?
Lee -– This record is not just for guitar players, or people who prefer guitar music. I want people to be blown away by what the guitar continues to do. I think there’s something in this record for everybody.
In Celebration of the World’s Most Popular Instrument—THE GUITAR!
With George Benson, BB King, Steve Lukather, Slash, John Scofield, Vince Gill, Keb’Mo, Robert Cray and Joe Bonamassa Among 20 World Class Guest Guitarists From All Music Genres Joining Ritenour on 6 String Theory.
It’s is 50 years since Lee Ritenour starting playing the guitar, setting in motion a career that legends are made of. A career that has earned him 19 GRAMMY® nominations, a GRAMMY Award, numerous #1 spots on guitar polls, A Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian SJ Awards, and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC. During his illustrious career, he has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs and was a founding member of the group Fourplay, considered the most successful group in contemporary jazz. As a young guitarist his diverse musical style became the foundation of over 3,000 sessions, covering a broad spectrum of artists ranging from his first session at 16 with the Mamas and Papas, to Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Simon & Garfunkel and Frank Sinatra. On his latest endeavor, 6 String Theory, Ritenour celebrates the instrument that has allowed him this blessing, the guitar; —by producing and assembling a star-studded tribute with the greatest and soon- to- be greatest guitarists of our time.
Ritenour also had a musical mission to help launch a new star of the guitar. To do so, he partnered with Yamaha Corp., Berklee College of Music, Monster Music, D’Addario Strings, and Concord Records to hold the international talent search, The Yamaha 6 String Theory Guitar Competition. Hundreds of contestants from over 45 countries posted YouTube videos to enter the competition with six finalists from around the world (one in each musical catagory) selected at a finals competition in Los Angeles in March 2010. Winning top honors was 16-year-old classical guitarist, Shon Boublil, from Montréal, Canada, who as the winner made his debut recording performance on 6 String Theory and received a four-year full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music .
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