Quinta Ignacio

Written by Quinta Ignacio

Modified & Updated: 31 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

Source: Concordjazz.com

Lee Ritenour is a name that resonates with jazz enthusiasts and guitar aficionados around the world. With a career spanning over four decades, Ritenour has made an indelible mark on the music industry with his exceptional talent and versatility. From his early days as a session musician to becoming a renowned solo artist, Ritenour has captivated audiences with his remarkable playing style and innovative approach to jazz fusion.

In this article, we will uncover 13 astounding facts about Lee Ritenour that showcase his extraordinary career and contributions to the world of music. From his collaborations with renowned artists to his award-winning albums, there is so much to explore and appreciate about this legendary guitarist. So, let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of Lee Ritenour!

Key Takeaways:

  • Lee Ritenour, a versatile and Grammy-winning musician, has left an indelible mark on the music industry with his exceptional guitar skills and diverse musical collaborations.
  • From founding his own record label to actively participating in philanthropy, Lee Ritenour’s influence extends beyond his music, showcasing his commitment to nurturing emerging talent and giving back to the community.
Table of Contents

Early Beginnings

Lee Ritenour, born on January 11, 1952, in Los Angeles, California, showed a passion for music from a young age. He started playing the guitar at the age of eight, and by the time he reached his teenage years, he was already performing professionally.

Versatile Musician

Lee Ritenour is a remarkably versatile musician, skilled in multiple genres such as jazz, fusion, rock, blues, and pop. His ability to seamlessly blend different styles has set him apart in the music industry.

Grammy Awards

With his incredible talent, Lee Ritenour has been honored with numerous Grammy nominations throughout his career. In fact, he has received a total of 17 Grammy nominations and has won one Grammy Award for Best Arrangement on his album “Harlequin” in 1985.


Lee Ritenour has collaborated with an impressive list of renowned artists, including Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Dizzy Gillespie, Pink Floyd, and many others. His ability to connect and create incredible music with various musicians showcases his versatility and talent.

Successful Discography

Ritenour has an extensive discography, with over 40 albums to his name. Some of his most acclaimed albums include “Captain Fingers,” “Rit,” and “Wes Bound.” His albums have received critical acclaim and have been enjoyed by fans around the world.

Notable Guitar Techniques

Lee Ritenour is known for his exceptional guitar techniques, including his smooth fingerpicking style and his mastery of complex chord progressions. His unique approach to the instrument has made him a highly respected figure in the guitar world.

Soundtrack Contributions

Ritenour’s talent extends to composing and producing music for soundtracks. He has contributed to the soundtracks of various movies and TV shows, including “Bullets Over Broadway,” “Me, Myself & Irene,” and “Hill Street Blues.

Global Recognition

Lee Ritenour’s music has reached audiences worldwide, with his albums charting in multiple countries. His popularity extends beyond the United States, with a strong international fanbase.

Awards and Accolades

Aside from Grammy nominations and wins, Lee Ritenour has received several other notable awards and accolades throughout his career. These include the “National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences MVP Award” and the “Alumni Merit Award” from the University of Southern California.

Philanthropy Work

Ritenour actively takes part in philanthropic efforts, using his music to support various charitable causes. He has participated in benefit concerts and collaborated with organizations dedicated to the arts and music education.

Record Label Founder

Lee Ritenour founded his own record label, entitled “i.e. MUSIC,” which aims to nurture and promote emerging talent in the industry. This label showcases Ritenour’s commitment to supporting aspiring artists.

Innovative Use of Technology

Ritenour has embraced technology and innovation in his music by incorporating electronic elements, synthesizers, and various digital effects into his compositions. He continues to experiment with new sounds and techniques.

Legacy and Influence

Lee Ritenour’s contributions to music have left a lasting impact. His unique style and technical prowess have influenced many aspiring guitarists, setting a standard for excellence within the industry.

These 13 astounding facts about Lee Ritenour exemplify his impressive career, undeniable talent, and his enduring legacy within the music world. From his early beginnings to his global recognition, Ritenour’s contributions have solidified his status as a true musical icon. With his extensive discography, collaborations with legendary artists, and his commitment to philanthropy, Lee Ritenour continues to inspire and captivate audiences with his remarkable music.


Lee Ritenour is undoubtedly a musical genius, and these 13 astounding facts about him only scratch the surface of his incredible talent and achievements. From his early days as a child prodigy to his extensive career as a renowned jazz guitarist, Ritenour has left an indelible mark on the music industry.

His ability to seamlessly blend different genres, his impressive discography, and his collaborations with music legends are a testament to his versatility and mastery of his craft. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just discovering his brilliance, exploring Lee Ritenour’s musical journey is sure to inspire and captivate you.

So sit back, relax, and let the magical melodies of Lee Ritenour transport you to a world where music knows no boundaries and creativity knows no limits.


Q: How did Lee Ritenour first get into music?
A: Lee Ritenour began playing the guitar at the age of 8 after being inspired by his dad, who was also a talented musician. He received formal training and quickly showcased his prodigious talent.

Q: What genre of music is Lee Ritenour known for?
A: Lee Ritenour is primarily known for his contributions to jazz music. However, he has also dabbled in other genres such as pop, rock, and Latin, displaying his versatility as a guitarist.

Q: Has Lee Ritenour won any awards?
A: Yes, Lee Ritenour has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He has won several Grammy Awards and has been nominated for various other prestigious music awards.

Q: Who are some of the notable artists Lee Ritenour has collaborated with?
A: Lee Ritenour has collaborated with a wide range of talented musicians, including Dave Grusin, Phil Collins, Steely Dan, and George Benson, just to name a few.

Q: Does Lee Ritenour still perform live?
A: Yes, Lee Ritenour continues to perform live and captivate audiences around the world with his incredible guitar skills. He regularly tours and participates in music festivals.

If you enjoyed learning about Lee Ritenour's incredible career, why not explore more fascinating facts about other musical greats? Discover the contemporary jazz genius of Brian Culbertson, immerse yourself in the smooth jazz world of Kenny G, or uncover the secrets behind the innovative genre of fusion. Each artist has a unique story to tell, filled with remarkable achievements and influential contributions to the music industry. So, keep reading and expand your knowledge of these legendary musicians!

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