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Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton: Larry & Lee (1995)

by May 04, 2019
Label: GRP (GRD 9817)

Track List

1.    Crosstown Kids
2.    Low Steppin'
3.    L.A. Underground
4.    Closed Door
5.    After the Rain
6.    Remembering J.P.
7.    Fun In The Dark
8.    Lots About Nothin'
9.    Take That
10.    Up and Adam
11.    Reflections Of A Guitar Player

Introduction

The one and only collaboration between two of the greatest jazz/rock session guitarists of the 20th Century, this CD definitely lived up to the hype. In retrospect, this CD was the result of a “career crossing” of sorts as guitar chair in the super (jazz) group Fourplay transitioned from Ritenour to Carlton, but only they knew it at the time. Before their launching successful solo careers, these guys were first-call studio session players for artists from Steely Dan to Pink Floyd. I was inspired to revisit my Lee Ritenour music library after seeing him (and the great Dave Grusin) live at the jazz club Yoshi's in Oakland, CA late last year.

Audio Quality

This CD was made in the heart of the GRP “digital master” era and the production work is outstanding. It also doesn't hurt that the high profile of both guitarists results in a multitude of outstanding sideman, from drummers to bass players to keyboardists; a close read of the liner notes is essential! The CD starts off with a hard-driving rock/funk groove on Crosstown Kids. Two of my favorite tracks feature slow, laid back grooves: Low Steppin' and After The Rain. Low Steppin' is actually a cover/sequence of an old Larry Carlton tune called High Steppin' (which not coincidentally is also an old favorite of mine). Another fun tune is Remembering J.P. It goes without saying that solid rhythm arrangements and great guitar solos can be found all over this release. The only track I really don't like is Reflections Of A Guitar Player.

Summary

This release is a good reference point for fans of both guitarists; Ritenour has been much more prolific in his personal commercial music endeavors over the last several years. An important listening note and novel idea: they mixed the CD such that Larry is featured in the left channel and Lee is featured in the right channel. This release was also available on high-quality (CrO2) cassette—and it sounds very, very good on a high-end deck (like my Nakamichi CD-1). It's a shame these two never paired up for a sequel, but then again we should be thankful that we got what we did!

Review Ratings for Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton: Larry & Lee

  • Audio Quality     5
  • Surround Implementation    N/A
  • Video Quality    N/A
  • Features (liner notes)    5
  • Overall    5

Reference Equipment

Yamaha DSP-A1 Natural Sound A/V Amplifier (Stereo Mode)

Pioneer Elite CLD-99 Reference LD Player

Polk Monitor 10B Speakers (x2)

 

About the author:
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Stanton was born and raised in Kansas City, where he was exposed to the rich culture of jazz at a very young age. He's a drummer and an electrical engineer and loves to review jazz music for us.

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