Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin Brasil
Candid (2024)


01. Cravo e Canela (Clove and Cinnamon) – featuring Tatiana Parra, Grégoire Maret
02. For the Palms – featuring Grégoire Maret
03. Catavento
04. Vitorioso (Victorious) – featuring Ivan Lins and Tatiana Parra
05. Meu Samba Torto (My Crooked Samba) – featuring Celso Fonseca
06. Stone Flower – featuring Chico Pinheiro
07. Boca de Siri (Keep a Secret) – featuring Chico Pinheiro
08. Lil’ Rock Way – featuring Grégoire Maret
09. Canto Invierno (Winter song)


BRASIL, the new album by Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin is a showcase for the unique talents of two of the most successful and influential musicians of their generation. It has been an enduring friendship and collaboration, from playing the famed Baked Potato in Los Angeles in the 70s, to collaborations on Dave’s records and films and Lee’s albums, plus years of touring together on the biggest stages.

Guitarist Ritenour and pianist Grusin began their fervent involvement in Brazilian music half a century ago. And, as boldly demonstrated on BRASIL, their new studio recording in several decades dedicated to the genre, their passion remains unabated. BRASIL is a bracing survey of contemporary Brazilian sounds featuring some of that country’s most notable young musicians. Also spotlighted are the talents of Swiss born harmonica ace Grégoire Maret and Brazilian vocalist and composer Ivan Lins, whose album Harlequin with Ritenour and Grusin won a GRAMMY® Award in 1986.
The genesis of BRASIL came about quite organically. Lee’s Brazilian wife Carmen counts among her ongoing acquaintances the late Antonio Carlos Jobim’s wife Ana. Their son Wesley, a much in demand drummer, has also spent considerable time in the Brazilian music scene. “Through Wesley’s contacts and input from friend and renowned guitarist Chico Pinheiro, I became aware of the many great musicians currently active there. So, I talked to Dave about going to Brazil to do a recording,” states Lee. “There were always great musicians but now there were also great studio players who could bend their style and contribute the way we used to as studio musicians in the early days of our careers. We would be challenged but also comfortable in playing with the Brazilian musicians we had invited to play on the recording.”
Dave readily agreed to participate. “It’s almost like being part of a family,” he reflects. “It was such a life saver when I first got involved in the Brazilian music scene and so much fun to get back into it, especially with these players. The inherent Brazilian attitude in their playing reminded me things had not changed that much over the years. We were the two gringos thrown into their world and that’s the dynamic we wanted to happen.”

The core Brazilian contingent handpicked to anchor the rhythm section were drummer Edu Ribeiro, bassist Bruno Migotto, and percussionist Marcelo Costa. Vocalist Tatiana Parra is featured on three tracks and how she became involved says much about how the album was put together. “She is a studio singer who could instantly wrap herself around what we needed,” Dave explains. “She’s just amazing,” Lee adds.
The session is notable for inclusion of two songs by singer and composer Milton Nascimento. “The albums Milton did in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s influenced me greatly,” Lee comments, referencing the two classics featured, “Cravo e Canela” and “Catavento.” The choice of these tunes, the guitarist explains, was not based on who the composer was but what the song itself would bring to the program.

Lee’s composition “For the Palms,” a meditative ballad, was written in reflection to the 2018 Woolsey Fire that destroyed his Malibu home. Several majestic palm trees had to be removed due to construction guidelines. “My wife was very distraught, and I composed this tune in response. It didn’t have anything to do with Brazil, but rather with the Brazilian in my life.”
The album also showcases Swiss-born harmonica master Grégoire Maret on three tracks. “He has been handed the crown Toots Thielemans, the harmonica legend, left when he passed,” Dave states, noting the role Thielemans played in bringing the harmonica into the jazz mainstream.“
 The artistry of longtime collaborator singer and composer Ivan Lins is celebrated on “Victoriosa,” a gorgeous ballad featuring Tatiana Parra in a supportive vocal role. “When Dave and I did Harlequin in 1985, featuring some of Ivan’s hits, I had gone to Brazil, and started to notice all these great tunes. Ivan had just taken off and walking around the streets of Rio and São Paulo you would hear a veritable soundtrack that in many cases was Ivan’s music. I suggested to Dave we should do an album of his music, and Harlequin was the result. We could have done dozens of his songs on this recording but went with just one we thought we could make our own. It ended up being a magical combination with Dave, myself, Ivan and Tatiana.”
With so many compelling Jobim compositions that could have been chosen “Stone Flower” was the perfect choice. The tune’s surging rhythms and haunting melody are truly spellbinding. “We’ve been playing it live for years,” Lee comments, “and recorded it on the 1997 album A Twist of Jobim.” Chico Pinheiro and Lee share the solo duties, producing joyous results. “It might be Jobim’s most progressive composition that’s become popular with jazz musicians, and it was great to do it with this Brazilian rhythm section and have that authentic feel,” Lee adds.
“When I first heard composer, singer, and guitarist Celso Fonseca’s “Meu Samba Torto” I fell in love with it,” states Lee. “I knew it would be a great vehicle for us along with Celso. It’s a very hypnotic song we had to weave our way into, instead of the other way around, and it turned out great!” Dave adds, “The tune was very interesting, in a sense he’s like a holdover to the tradition of Brazilian music – bossa nova – that we’ve never let go of.”
Closing out the set Lee is reunited with fellow guitarist Chico Pinheiro who penned the rhythmically slinky “Boca de Siri,” Grégoire Maret’s harmonica gets another turn on Ritenour’s “Lil’ Rock Way” and Dave’s regal “Canto Invierno” concludes it on an elegant note.
Ritenour and Grusin have made an indelible mark in the music industry. With the release of BRASIL, they continue to exemplify how their longevity and success is tribute to their ability to stay on the pulse of the music scene today. “Brazilian music continues to permeate the world,” Lee observes. “So, now was the right time and inspiration to go to Brazil and do this recording.” And their musical magic continues!

Produced by Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin
Executive producer Michael Lizárraga 
Recorded in São Paulo, Brazil & Los Angeles, Calif, 2023.