Guitarist Lee Ritenour has long been associated with Brazilian styles (especially after playing with Sergio Mendes's Brasil '77 in the '70s), and 2005's WORLD OF BRAZIL continues that association to excellent effect. Ritenour's smooth, soulful style lends itself perfectly to bossa nova and samba grooves on this mix of originals and covers (including, not surprisingly, several tunes by the genre's greatest composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim). But one of the things that makes WORLD OF BRAZIL such a treat is the host of guest stars, which includes keyboardists Herbie Hancock and Dave Grusin, bassist John Pattitucci, singer El Debarge, and percussionist Carlinhos Brown. No less a luminary than Tropicalia pioneer Caetano Veloso appears on his own "Linda," and his sultry tenor sounds as alluring as ever. With its mix of smooth jazz and Brazilian flavors, the overall vibe of this disc is relaxed, sophisticated, and cool.
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)