Jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour pays tribute to Jobim in Jazz Roots concert at Arsht Center in Miami


Lee Ritenour, one of the world’s most successful jazz guitarists, learned Brazilian bossa nova from the master, Antonio Carlos Jobim.

“I met Jobim when I was a teenager, actually, at Sergio Mendes’ house. I was playing with Sergio Mendes. He had a party. There was kind of a jam session, and Tom Jobim, as we call him, was there that night,” recalls Ritenour, who that night also met composer-pianist Dave Grusin, who would later win an Oscar and multiple Grammy Awards.

Ritenour, Jobim’s grandson Daniel (a pianist) and Grusin are among the performers who will pay tribute to the great Brazilian musician 8 p.m. Friday in “A Twist of Jobim,” the season finale of Jazz Roots at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Jazz Roots producer Larry Rosen has known Ritenour more than 30 years, when the guitarist was a star on Rosen and Grusin’s old jazz label, GRP Records.

“He always had a great expanse of musical knowledge. Brazilian music was a real big component of it,” Rosen says. “He carries that through to today in everything that he does.”

Ritenour’s first studio session was playing backup at age 16 for the Mamas and the Papas in 1968. He released his first album, First Course, in 1976.

“It was the beginning of the fusion movement and especially the West Coast fusion movement, where we were taking Brazilian rhythms, which we had kind of copped from that whole movement with Jobim that had just happened in the ’60s,” he says. “We were taking R&B grooves and taking a sort of fast fusion ideas and combining it with our love for jazz. That became kind of a contemporary fusion at the time.”

Three years after Ritenour joined the GRP roster, he and Grusin won a Grammy in 1985 for their album Harlequin.

Before Friday’s performance, Ritenour, 62, will hold a master class for Miami-Dade County Public Schools music students. The advice he’ll give:

“If they’re a player or a singer, then I really emphasize that it’s important for everyone to have their own voice. Don’t be a copy of another great. Say you love B.B. King or George Benson, Jimi Hendrix or whoever it is, there’s only one of those guys, so if you grow up sounding like Jimi Hendrix, it just doesn’t mean so much. Everyone grows up with their own voice inside them. It’s just how do you get it out, how does that happen,” he says.


Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Attack of Sharknado 2: Oh yeah, there’s another one

    The idea of making a movie about a tornado that scoops up thousands of sharks and sends them flying through the air to chomp their way through a bevy of people, places and things sounds totally ridiculous. That didn’t stop Syfy from moving ahead with Sharknado, a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The mania reached such a fevered level that a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, was ordered. It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

  • Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

    NEW YORK (AP) – NBC has picked its Peter Pan: high-flying “Girls” star Allison Williams.

  • Celebrity birthdays on July 30

    Director Peter Bogdanovich is 75. Singer Paul Anka is 73. Saxophonist David Sanborn is 69. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is 67. Blues singer Otis Taylor is 66. Actor Ken Olin is 60. Actress Delta Burke is 58. Actor Laurence Fishburne is 53. Actress Lisa Kudrow is 51. Actress Vivica A. Fox is 50. Actor Terry Crews is 46. Director Christopher Nolan is 44. Actor Tom Green is 43. Actress Christine Taylor is 43. Actress Hilary Swank is 40. Actress Jaime Pressly is 37. Actress Yvonne Strahovski is 32.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category