Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"There are an impressive fifteen tracks that feature twenty different guitarists. The song selection was intended to explore the six "strings" or genres of music (jazz, rock, blues, acoustic, country and classical) influenced by the guitar. Shared production duties sustain a high level of studio quality without restricting any of the creativity or inspiration. Despite a wide array of styles and combinations of players, the album moves freely and never feels disjointed or uneven... More is not necessarily better, but in the case of Lee Ritenour’s 6 String Theory, it is." -Audiophile Audition
This Super Disc includes two versions of Surround Sound, High Definition Music Files, High Definition Stereo version, and 10 minutes of never before seen Behind the Scenes footage and commentary of the making of Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory. A truly great package in all!
Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory features Lee Ritenour, BB King, George Benson, Slash, John Scofield, Steve Lukather, Vince Gill, Pat Martino, Mike Stern, Neal Schon, Robert Cray, Keb' Mo', Taj Mahal, Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, Andy McKee, Guthrie Govan, Joe Robinson, Tomoyasu Hotei, Shon Boublil...and many more.
"The very gift that makes a session musician great can also be a curse. Oftentimes expected to be chameleon-like, it's that very act of becoming a credible musical shape-shifter that can sometimes lead to a loss of individuality. Lee Ritenour is a consummate and complete guitarist if ever there was one; his varied discography supporting a seemingly insatiable appetite for anything to do with the six-stringed instrument and all its variations. Often (and, in many cases, unfairly) linked too heavily with a genre that he helped formulate in the mid-to-late 1970s through his own "fusion lite" albums like Captain Fingers (Epic, 1977), to call Ritenour a smooth jazz guitarist would be unfairly exclusionary, as 6 String Theory proves in spades.
Not that there's anything wrong with smooth, but there's none to be found amidst 6 String Theory's multiplicity of styles, all-star guests and a cohesion surprising for an album so eclectic. Instead, Ritenour goes for the throat with some down-and-dirty blues ("Give Me One Reason," featuring guitar slingers/blues beltersRobert Cray and Joe Bonamassa) and mainstream jazz (the incendiary "L.P.," with Ritenour joined by straight-ahead hero Pat Martino and organist Joey DeFrancesco, and a swinging "Moon River," with the equally mislabelled George Benson in full-out bop mode). There's some pedal-to-the-metal guitar pyrotechnics when Steve Lukather, Neal Schon and Slash get together for the high octane shuffle of "'68'"; a classier blues, "Why I Sing the Blues," where elder statesman B.B. King is joined by relative youngsters Keb' Mo', Jonny Legend and Vince Gill, who not only turns in a searing solo, but as impassioned a vocal turn as his partners. And just to prove he still can do it, there's a nod to Jeff Beck on Max Middleton's classic boogie, "Freeway Jam," where Ritenour tears it up with Mike Stern and Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei, supported by legendary British drummer Simon Phillips.
There are also nods to the acoustic side with guest steel-stringers Joe Robinson and Andy McKee. A guitar competition as well as a CD, 6 String Theory closes with its winner, classical guitarist Shon Boubil, performing two Legnani "Caprices."
The entire set kicks off with Ritenour's funky "Lay It Down," capably sharing the bill with contemporary John Scofield. As well as Ritenour plays here and throughout 6 String Theory - humbly leaving more than ample room for his guests as he appears, in fact, on only eight of the album's fifteen tracks and never dominates - it highlights the disc's one and only flaw: Ritenour plays undeniably well throughout, but it's the very strength of the voices around him that highlights his own lack of one. It's hard to criticize a player so accomplished and so diverse, but while many of his guests will be remembered for their distinctive musical personalities, it's far more likely that Ritenour's legacy will be as an exceptionally talented chameleon, capable of fitting into any context - not, by any means, a shabby accomplishment, however, and especially when the result is as thoroughly enjoyable as 6 String Theory." - AllAboutJazz
JazzTimes (p.67) - "One thing's for certain: 6 STRING THEORY is music for guitar lovers."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.90) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "John Scofield is fast and funky, Slash delivers noisy Slashism and George Benson reminds us that before becoming Mr. Love Trousers he was a hot jazz guitarist..."
Personnel: Angela Magliocca (strings).
Liner Note Authors: Jude Gold; Lee Ritenour .
Recording information: DADA Studio, Tokyo, Japan (12/2009-04/2010); Digital Insight Studios, Las Vegas, NV (12/2009-04/2010); Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA (12/2009-04/2010); Santa Barbara Sound Design, Santa Barbara, CA (12/2009-04/2010); Starlight Studio, Los Angeles, CA (12/2009-04/2010); The Village Studios, Los Angeles, CA (12/2009-04/2010); Vince Gill's Studio, Nashville, TN (12/2009-04/2010).
Editors: Eric Ferguson; Gary Lee ; Lee Ritenour .
Photographer: Chad Reininger.
Translator: Miki Sugimoto.
Arrangers: John Burk; Lee Ritenour .
Guitarist Lee Ritenour decided to celebrate his 50th year as a guitar player by inviting a bevy of name guitarists into the studio to jam out some tunes, all in the name of love for their chosen instrument. Ritenour's subsequent album, 2010's 6 String Theory, is just that, a varied celebration on the many styles and players who have utilized the guitar. The result is an expansive, ambitious, but never belabored album that touches on jazz, blues, funk, and rock and expands beyond the usual Ritenour approach while remaining true to his unique six-string sound. To these ends, Ritenour duets with such artists as contemporary bluesman Keb' Mo', fusion/post-bop legend Pat Martino, and blues icon B.B. King, as well as George Benson, Slash, Mike Stern, and others. To say this is an all-star affair is an understatement and fortunately, while the album never overplays to expectations, it nonetheless delivers on Ritenour's promise of a guitar celebration. ~ Matt Collar
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