Album Remarks & Appraisals:
1988's Festival marks renowned guitarist Lee Ritenour's second acoustic effort, and features a vibrant, Brazilian sound. The album peaked at #3 on the Contemporary Jazz chart. Previously out of print!
Ritenour's second acoustic album, like his first, has an overall Brazilian theme but this time, he recorded his ensemble of New York, L.A. and Brazilian musicians in one locale, New York City. This is a superior record to Rio, though, because there is a deeper Brazilian feeling to the arrangements, and Lee's own playing is even more refined and meaningful. "Waiting For You," a solo track on an acoustic guitar synthesizer, is especially attractive. The core crew consists of a collection of pro's pros -- Ernie Watts on alto and tenor, Dave Grusin or Bob James on keyboards, Marcus Miller or Anthony Jackson on bass, Omar Hakim on drums, Paulinho Da Costa and Carlinhos Brown on percussion -- who lay down smooth yet gently grooving backdrops for Rit to ride. Joao Bosco and Gracinha Leporace contribute fascinating Portuguese vocals to the album's two most appealing and thoroughly Brazilian-flavored tracks, "Latin Lovers" and "Odile, Odila" -- and Caetano Veloso brings a softer-focused vocal style to "Linda." ~ Richard S. Ginell