from CAPTAIN FINGERS
Written by Eddie Arkin & Mitch Holder
Over the course of their long and successful careers, David Foster and legendary guitarist Lee Ritenour crossed paths many times starting with the magical L.A. session years of the seventies where they would often show up on the same dates to the guitarist’s 1981 RIT album that Foster co-produced and which became a best-seller. The Hitman and Ritenour even co-headlined a Japanese tour in 1987 and often appeared on each other’s solo efforts including Foster’s The Symphony Sessions.
This week we go back to Ritenour’s 1977 Captain Fingers album.
Captain Fingers was Ritenour’s third solo release and has been remembered as one of jazz/fusion’s seminal recordings of that era. Captain Fingers presented Rit at the top of his game supported by a stellar cast that reads like a who’s who of the L.A. scene of those days. Dave Grusin, the late Jeff Porcaro (1954-1992), Patrice Rushen, Anthony Jackson, Harvey Mason, Bill Champlin and Jay Graydon were just a few of the names involved. Foster played the electric piano on two tracks. One was a spectacular, funky version of Stevie Wonder’s classic, “Isn’t She Lovely,” sung by Champlin and arranged by Foster, that has been reviewed on this website in the past. The second tune was an instrumental entitled “Space Glide.”
Co-written by Eddie Arkin and Mitch Holder, “Space Glide” was an energetic jam that featured amazing playing and solos by Ritenour and legendary saxophonist Ernie Watts. They shined all over the top-notch backing track cemented by Porcaro’s tight drumming, Charles Meeks astounding bass, Foster’s skilled fingers playing keyboards and torrid rhythm guitars played by Holder and Ray Parker, Jr. Let’s also give a shout-out to the work on various percussions and congas by Mason, Steve Forman and the ever fantastic Victor Feldman (1934-1987).
To round out this review, Foster wrote a few words about his old friend. Here’s what he sent:
“Lee was the first guy of all of us who were studio musicians to bust out and leave the studio work to have a solo career. Ray Parker, Jr. soon followed and then the guys in Toto, Harvey Mason, myself, Nathan East and a few others. Rit is one of a kind who has a totally unique sound. His playing is so fluid, really like velvet. He found his own sound and probably made more solo albums than anyone. I don’t remember much about “Space Glide” except playing those chords and I think I offered up the “push” beat every 4 bars. All I can say is that it still sounds great today.”
- Electric Guitar & Guitar Synthesizer: Lee Ritenour
- Drums: Jeff Porcaro
- Rhythm Guitars: Mitch Holder & Ray Parker, Jr.
- Bass: Charles Meeks
- Electric Piano: David Foster
- Percussion: Steve Forman & Harvey Mason
- Congas: Victor Feldman
- Tenor Saxophone: Ernie Watts
- Produced by Skip Drinkwater