RIGHT IN LINE WITH THE BEST!
Chris Teem | Kirkland, WA USA | 12/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lee Ritenour is one of the smoothest, cleanest playing guitarists that's ever picked up the instrument! I first heard this album, on vynyl, back in 1983. As a then rock fan, I was totally surprised that I enjoyed it, but Lee's clean crisp sound, speed and edge touched a nerve. Since that time, I've acquired many of his recordings and seen him live several times."On The Line" is an in-studio concert. Seriously, read the liner notes! Lee fills the recording with big contemporary jazz names including Dave and Don Grusin on keyboards, Anthony Jackson and Nathan East sharing bass duties, and Ernie Watts on sax. This group then plays the entire set live, direct-to-disc."The Rit Variations" opens the album with a mid-tempo, electric-classical musing. Nice basswork by Jackson and punchy lines by Rit give certain sections an Al Dimeola/flamenco feel. Next Lee drops a mellow tune in your lap, full of nice Watts sax work. The title cut is an upbeat number with a lot of funky keyboard and Mason's driving drums. Listen to Rit's raspy-toned solo beginning at the 2:15 mark. "Tush" comes back with a soft pulse. Especially sweet are the sections where Lee and Ernie play over the top of each other. Nathan East jumps headlong into cut five, a bouncy tune which exemplifies Rit's clean style...no matter the style, speed or tone....every note is crisp and clear. "Heavenly Bodies" contains a wide range of dynamics and sounds as though it should be part of a movie soundtrack, with the Grusins on board, who knows. Rit fuzzes up the third minute with a floating solo. I'm not so sure about the tune "Pedestrian", the wierd synth/keyboard sound wears on me after a minute or two...you'll have to make the call. Lee finishes the album off with the thoughtful "Dolphin Dreams". Again his soft, sweet lines and Watts' flowing sax create the proper mood. Rit turns up intensity slightly for the soaring central solo and then drops it back down to Watts, before easing us out with a soothing end.The album is a mixture of slow balladry, smooth-jazzy contemporary styling and a couple of thumping numbers that will have you trying to anticipate what the band will do next. This is a "must have" for any true Rit fan. I've been listening to it for seventeen years and it's still in my rotation. No wonder they call the man - Captain Fingers!"
Awesome album ,but beware of cd version
Rothko70 | Newmarket,Auckland,New Zealand | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is an old favourite of mine from way back,in my late teens,and which I still enjoy and play often.I bought the tape version in 1986,and I would love to buy the cd,but going by the first review of the cd version,I won't be buying it anytime soon.It sounds like its been remixed,and the song list reordered,which ruins the sound and flow of the album,and thats a shame.
I want to know,why can't they just re-release the album on cd as it was originally recorded without messing around with it?.I had a disappointing experience with buying Lee Ritenours' "Rio" album on cd,having had it on record for many years.The record version is absolutely beautiful,lovely soft, romantic brazillian percussion,and fine finger work by Lee,and a brilliant song list that makes you feel like you have listened to a story.The cd version totally rips the guts out of it,and with a terrible song sequence.Just awful.I do NOT recommend it.
My advice to loyal Ritenour fans,think twice about up dating your old records/tapes to cd.I taped my old Rio album,and thats what I play,rather than wearing out the record.
But...I have seen, once, a long time ago,the cd version of "On the Line" but with the original cover (from the original 1983 album),I wonder whether it stuck to the original format...never got the chance to actually hear it,and find out.
"On the Line" is a classic Ritenour album,my favourites would be Rit variations,Dolphin Dreams,California Roll,On the Line and Tush.I highly recommend it.
If you can find a GOOD used record/tape of "On the Line",I strongly advise sticking with that.Or even better yet,if your a computer whiz,transfer the album on to cd via the computer....."
Disappointing to an analog fan
gilld89 | APO, AE United States | 03/31/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Chris Teen makes some great comments on the musicianship and content of the disc. Problem is, I bought the original cassette tape (also "direct" to tape) in 1984 after my best friend played the LP for me. Some of the fundamental cuts are significantly different on this CD, and not as good. The original tape has much more spontaneity and musical interest in the solo work. The slower more meditative cuts are the same, but the real movers are really different. The CD also re-orders the tracks, so it bothers these old ears. A remaster of the tape would be much more interesting to me, but I have not found one."