The Mayne stage, a club with a very up close and personal setting in Rogers Park, Wednesday hosted Lee Ritenour, Jazz guitarist for a night of incredible music. It was to be a special night as we found out they were recording the night for a new live recording. Lee along with Jessie Miliner on keyboards, Melvin Davis on the bass and Sony Emory on the drum set.
Lee explained about making tonight a live recording, and that because of this told everybody on the left to make noise. Then he told everybody on the right to also make noise. Then he pointed to the center. “You in the center were the best. You are in the expensive seats so you have to be the loudest.” “Tonight we will be playing old music, even older, new and even newer music.” So he dedicated the next song called Wes bound to the great Wes Montgomery. Lee’s style utilizes every inch of the fretboard including a slap here and there in a very appealing and imaginative solo.
A nice back up to Lee is Melvin Davis on bass. On the next piece Melvin added some wordless vocals, singing along with the bass as he went into a duet of sorts with himself. All I can say is this went over very well with the audience. This led into his vocals going along with the guitar while doing a different bass line. This was a nice sort of guitar vocal lead over keyboards, bass rhythm and drums, after a nice piano solo by Jessie.
Introducing the band, Lee talked about each member. Introducing Melvin Davis on bass, “He started with only four strings. He decided to add a string and got a five string. Then it went to six and now at seven.” “Play the low note.” It shook the hall. “Play the high note.” Melvin did. It sounded like a guitar. “Don’t play that again! It sounded too much like a guitar. Melvin plays that when he wants to make me mad.” Lee commented with a big smile on his face. Sony Emory has been playing drums since he was four years old and Jessie Milliner a Jamaican/German playing keyboards. Lee also talked about his new cd 6 String Theory out with a collection of incredible guitarist.
Reviewed by Lee Bishop on 4/4/12