Rit Special - Pure Delight!
Patrick Gaffney | Florida | 11/22/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lee Ritenour proves that he truely is a master at his craft. And his choices of band members says it all...It was a delight to see this performer who is seldom seen on video...Rit is a very versatile guitarist. He plays from one end of the spectrum to the other...definately worth the money!"
I don't really get it...
BJ | Florida | 09/23/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"To me, Lee Ritenour is one of the most talented guitarists/composers that has ever lived. I hold him in the highest regard, and happen to own many of his albums. In 1981, '82 and 84, Rit made some pop albums. I personally find the albums "Rit" and "Rit/2" (from 81 and 82) to be two fantastic albums, containing some really great music. Unfortunately, the moods created on these two albums was not recreated so successfully on 1984's "Banded Together", as documented by this live DVD (backing tracks and all).
Truthfully, I find this DVD almost unwatchable. When I first sat down to watch this, I went in with an open mind, willing to give all of the songs I hadn't yet heard a fair hearing (those from Banded Together) as I had enjoyed all of the pop I had heard from Lee so far. The first four songs ran through, and things weren't going too badly. Just at the end of the nice rendition of Dolphin Dreams, Lee said "Here's a few new songs for you". As it turned out, It was my first, and last encounter with the music of "Banded Together".
For me, the music is just generic and, well, generally bad. The lyrics often leave a lot to be desired (for example, "Sunset Drivers, time to hit the street, time for neighbourly relations in the back seat"). The presence of what would seem to be backing tracks on many of the songs is a bit disappointing (defeating the purpose of live performance), and the simplicity of the songs is also quite dissapointing, in that they just don't generate much interest (Along with the bad music comes keyboardist Barnaby Finch's thrusting to the beats of some of the songs, for example, Operator - need I say any more!).
Lee plays just so well on this DVD, it's just disappointing to see his incredible playing buried in this trite pop. But not all is lost on this DVD. The opening rendition of "Heavenly Bodies" is quite nice, the guitar solo in "Mr Briefcase" is really good (unfortunately the keyboard sound is wrong), the sax/guitar solo section of "Voices" is truly fantastic, Amaretto is a nice interlude - featuring a wonderful solo from Ernie Watts, and Rit Variations II is fantastic (I often get the DVD out just to watch this one track, and I wish that there was more music like it on the DVD).
All in all, this is a great band. Barnaby Finch does a great job on Keyboards, Carlos Vega is great on the drums, Jimmy Johnson - while not particularly prominent does a great job of laying down the bass parts, Phil Perry is great, Ernie Watts is fantastic as usual and so is Lee. It's unfortunate that this group played this music - and if this group was going to play pop, I wish they had chosen more material from "Rit" and "Rit/2". However, there are other DVDs documenting the better music from the mid 80s period - those being Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin Live From The Record Plant and GRP All-Stars Live From The Record Plant. These two DVDs (that appear to be both taken from the same performance) featuring Lee & Dave are absolutely fantastic. In terms of Lee, they show just how good he is as a musician and composer - I strongly recommend them to anyone even slightly interested in his music. I also highly recommend the incredible DVD released earlier this year called "Overtime"."
A Different Side of Lee Ritenour
J. Rich | 08/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lee Ritenour is one of the best contemporary jazz guitarist of the past 30 years. He has done everything from jazz rock to traditional jazz. This concert was recorded live in 1984. Why I mentioned, in the title of this review, that this is a different side of Lee is because he released an album called "Banded Together" which was a more rock album than jazz. He does some standard Ritenour jazz tunes, but he also rips and soars to some of his rock songs. This DVD looks and sounds fantastic. It is really worth the money to just see Lee play songs from the now extremely rare album "Banded Together" which was released the same year of this recording 1984."
A Great Guitarist playing some fun music.
J. Banner | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this gem on VHS about 15 years ago. I waited for it to come out on DVD and finally it did. This is not the Lee Ritenour of today, but the Lee when jazz was becoming his forte. This DVD is well done with excellent editing and the photography is crystal clear. For a 1984 recording, the sound is great and the songs are just pure fun. This is more fusion than pure jazz. If you're looking for more jazz oriented stuff then buy the Overtime DVD or the others with Dave Gruisin. I've enjoyed this concert for years and I believe you will also."