" 6 String Theory "

LEE RITENOUR 6 String Theory Concord Lee Ritenour's 6 String Theory displays more blues than one might expect from the fleet fingers of this jazz guitarist. This all-star blast features well-known bluesmen Keb' Mo', Taj Mahal, Robert Cray, and B.B. King, plus blues-rockers Jonny Lang and Joe Bonamassa. Jazz cats John Scofield, Pat Martino, Joey DeFrancesco, George Benson, and Mike Stern also display their wizardry. And rockers Neal Schon, Slash, Steve Lukather, and country rocking Vince Gil add their unique colors to this surprisingly fine disc.

There's lot's of ear candy for our auditory canals to inhale on the opening "Lay It Down" as Ritenour and Scofield seductively play off each-others superlative riffs and solos. Mo' and Mahal sound like old front-porch buddies on "Am I Wrong," with solid bass-lines from the veteran Nathan East. Martino and Ritenour rocket through a tribute to their mentor "L.P. (For Les Paul.)" Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" gets a gritty treatment courtesy of Bonamassa's and Cray's co-vocals, grungy guitar-work, and Tal Wilkenfeld's enormous bass playing skills. Wilkenfeld also graces on two additional tracks with Lukather as well. Nice to hear Benson playing straight-ahead on "Moon River" which is given a bluesy treatment with great grooves and grease from DeFrancesco's B-3.

B.B. King's "Why I Sing The Blues" is funky, lengthy (6:34), and strong with vocal and guitar support coming from King, Mo', Gil, Lang, and Ritenour. There's also a rollicking cover of Max Middleton's "Freeway Jam" that would make Jeff Beck's head turn! Guitarists Stern wails alongside Ritenour and guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei in this hair-raising romp.

Too often I am leery about all-star collections, but this one's a beauty. Considering the musical territories covered, this disc flows remarkably well. Ritenour fits in like a glove throughout and shows what an adaptive pro his guitar playing talents exudes. So much so, I could potentially see Mr. Clapton calling on Ritenour for his next Crossroads festival.

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: bob8003@yahoo.com

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com