Sizzling from start to finish, “Harlequin” is the result of one of the most intuitive partnerships in the world of jazz. Although Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin had been working together for a decade, “Harlequin” is regarded by the two musicians as their first genuine recorded collaboration, whereby from original concept, through selection of tracks and personnel to arrangements and mixing, it was truly a joint effort. Included in the top ten best jazz recordings ever by a noted poll, “Harlequin” is a blend of smoldering Brazilian rhythms and moods with a freshness and verve that brings on a tingle of excitement each time it is played. The scintillating jazz fusion of “Harlequin” includes added spice in the form of a major contribution by Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivan Lins who appears on three tracks.(grusin.net)
Known to fans as "Captain Fingers" for his uncommon dexterity on the guitar, Lee Ritenour is a noted jazz artist and session musician who has been one of the leaders in his field since the early '70s. Born in Los Angeles, California on January 11, 1952, Ritenour took up the guitar when he was eight years old, and decided to make music his career when he was 12. Ritenour's parents were supportive of his ambitions, and arranged for him to study with some of the best guitar teachers in Southern California.
Dave Grusin has been a highly successful performer, producer, composer, record label executive, arranger, and bandleader. His piano playing ranges from mildly challenging to competent to routine, but he's primarily an accomplished film and television soundtrack composer. Grusin played with Terry Gibbs and Johnny Smith while studying at the University of Colorado. He was the assistant music director and pianist for Andy Williams from 1959 to 1966, and then started his television composing career. Grusin recorded with Benny Goodman in 1960 and recorded with a hard bop trio who included Milt Hinton and Don Lamond in the early '60s.
Ritenour and Grusin are back with Amparo, which interprets classical standards, includes two originals, and overall is inspired by a romantic South American sensibility. Do they pull it off? Yes, with a big assist from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, as Grusin transcribes and arranges Faure, Ravel, Albinoni and Handel, all of whom, if they were alive today, might also be composing the lush movie scores that Grusin composes with ease.