Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Lee Ritenour's 1987 album, which made it to #7 on Billboard's Contemporary Jazz Chart, pairs the renowned guitarist with a handful of diverse guests, including Kenny G, Brazilian artist Djavan and jazz outfit the Yellowjackets. AllMusic praised the album for showcasing the "acceleration of Ritenour's growth into a tastier, more musical guitarist." Previously out of print!
Portrait is predominantly a series of encounters between Ritenour and several guest interlopers, presumably to provide a well-rounded stylistic composite. The more heartening result is the acceleration of Ritenour's growth into a tastier, more musical guitarist, whether in the lead or sharing the spotlight. "Asa" is excellent, a fine Djavan tune with the composer's vocals adding immeasurably and possibly inspiring some tasty electric work from Lee -- and there is a sweetly-played Brazilian-styled tune, "Windmill," where Rit's playing almost resembles that of Chet Atkins in its smooth deceptive simplicity. "G-Rit" has Kenny G exchanging riffs with the far more inventive Ritenour, but you can tell that Kenny is definitely stoking Lee's engine. There are three tracks with a restrained quorum from Yellowjackets; "White Water" is not bad, has a nice flow, while Jobim's "Children's Games" receives a lovely performance and "Runaway" closes the LP on an attractive note (the CD has an additional cut). One of Rit's better records of the '80s. ~ Richard S. Ginell