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South African Sound Inspires Lee Ritenour's Latest CD

Guitarist Lee Ritenour has been keeping busy ever since he left the popular jazz quartet Fourplay. Since his departure in 1998, he went back to work making solo albums, including his latest effort inspired by a recent trip to South Africa. VOA's Doug Levine fills us in.

In all his years of touring around the world, Lee Ritenour never made it to South Africa. Not until 2005, when he performed five shows at music festivals in Johannesburg and Capetown.

It was in Capetown that he discovered South African singing sensation Zamajobe whose vocals seemed perfectly suited for his new album Smoke 'N' Mirrors. In no time, Zamajobe signed on to perform three songs.

A blend of South African pop and American jazz, Zamajobe sings and Lee Ritenour plays "Memeza."

Known mainly as a smooth jazz guitarist, Ritenour often incorporates rock, funk, blues, reggae and Brazilian music. On Smoke 'N' Mirrors, he recruited Brazilian singer-songwriter Daniel Jobim, grandson of famed jazz composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, for the song "Blue Days."

Whether he's experimenting with Brazilian rhythms or South African melodies, electric or acoustic jazz, Lee Ritenour always puts together a great band.

His new album Smoke 'N' Mirrors features no less than 20 guest musicians, including pianist Dave Grusin who adds an acoustic touch to his composition "Southwest Passage."