Lee Ritenour

American jazz guitarist, session musician, and composer

Lee Mack Ritenour (born January 11, 1952) is an American jazz guitarist who has recorded over 42 albums, appeared on over 3000 sessions, and has charted over 30 instrumental and vocal contemporary jazz hits since 1976.

Lee Ritenour in 2009


  • I'm constantly thinking melodies. Now, to add interest to those melodies, obviously you have to know what things can be superimposed over a chord, and I will think of extended arpeggios and the upper estensions. If I'm playing very vertically, I will invariably start to include certaing passing notes which imply certain scales -- like a melodic minor scale against a C minor chord, or diminished scales, something like that. But I'm not thinking of a scale at that specific moment. I'm thinking of the notes as surrounding that chord -- because I know how each of the twelve notes in music sound against a C minor seventh, for instance.
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