CD Twist of Motown (CD 298397),
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Twist of Motown

  • 1. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) - George Benson/Gerald Albright/Lee Ritenour
    2. Papa Was a Rolling Stone - Chris Botti/Lisa Fischer
    3. Never Can Say Goodbye - Dave Grusin/Lee Ritenour
    4. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) - Will Downing
    5. I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Dave Grusin/Lee Ritenour
    6. Tracks of My Tears, The - Brenda Russell
    7. You Haven't Done Nothin' - Richard Elliot
    8. Creepin' - Bob James
    9. Medley: War/What's Going On?: War / What's Goin' On - Lisa Fischer/Mindi Abair
    10. All This Love - Gerald Albright/Lee Ritenour
    11. Got to Be There - Peter White
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 000011502

  • Credits
    ProducerLee Ritenour
    EngineerDon Murray; EMI Ferguson; Jochem van der Saag; Lee Ritenour

    Includes liner notes by Chuck Berg.
    Personnel: Lisa Fischer, Will Downing, Brenda Russell (vocals); Lee Ritenour (guitar, acoustic guitar, strings, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards, synthesizer, programming, sampler); George Benson , Peter White (guitar); Peter "Fifi" White (acoustic guitar, keyboards); Dan Higgins (flute, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Gerald Albright (flute, tenor saxophone); Mindi Abair (soprano saxophone); Richard Elliot (tenor saxophone); Jerry Hey (trumpet, flugelhorn); Chris Botti (trumpet); Dave Grusin (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Bob James (Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Jochem van der Saag (keyboards, synthesizer, drums, percussion, programming, sampler); Greg Phillinganes, Russell Ferrante (keyboards, synthesizer); Steve Tavaglione (EWI); Ricky Lawson (drums); Lori Perry, Darlene Perry, Sharon Perry (background vocals).
    Audio Mixer: Don Murray .
    Liner Note Author: Dr. Chuck Berg.
    Recording information: Blue Studios, Malibu; Capitol Records, Hollywood, CA; Starlight Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
    Illustrator: Rebecca Meek.
    Arrangers: Dave Grusin; Jochem van der Saag; Peter "Fifi" White ; Lee Ritenour .
    There's a scene in Oliver Stone's 1986 film Platoon that speaks volumes about the importance of Motown Records to the baby boomer generation. In that scene from Platoon -- which takes place in the jungles of Vietnam during the Vietnam War -- several American soldiers are singing the Miracles' "The Tracks of My Tears" in an effort to provide some temporary relief from the horror that surrounds them. During that scene, the song is about much more than a great melody -- it's about camaraderie, solace, and comfort. Like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, and Stax, Motown was -- to use Berry Gordy's phrase -- "the sound of young America." While the baby boomers aren't so young anymore, the Motown songbook holds up nicely after all these years -- a fact that is illustrated by A Twist of Motown. This 2003 project finds guitarist Lee Ritenour producing a jazz-friendly tribute to Motown and overseeing an all-star cast that includes George Benson, Gerald Albright, Dave Grusin, Chris Botti, and Bob James, among others. The instrumentals (which range from "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to Stevie Wonder's "Creepin'") tend to draw on both soul-jazz and crossover jazz/NAC, while the vocal performances -- including Brenda Russell on "The Tracks of My Tears" and Will Downing on "Just My Imagination" -- are aimed at urban or quiet storm listeners. From a jazz standpoint, A Twist of Motown isn't as adventurous or risk-taking as it could have been; if you want to hear some truly daring interpretations of Motown gems, check out Joe Farrell's version of Wonder's "Too High" or Grover Washington, Jr.'s arrangement of Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues." Nonetheless, the performances -- both instrumental and vocal -- are generally likable and satisfying, and when all is said and done, Ritenour has affirmed how durable the Motown songbook continues to be. ~ Alex Henderson

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