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Kenny Rittenhouse | The Francis Suite

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United States - Washington DC

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Jazz quartet Moods: Type: Improvisational
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The Francis Suite

by Kenny Rittenhouse

Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Malcolm's Return
8:14 $0.99
2. Amazing Grace
6:29 $0.99
3. Tiny's Crib
6:02 $0.99
4. The Sisterhood
9:16 $0.99
5. Last of The Soul Brothers
5:15 $0.99
6. Francis
7:14 $0.99
7. Body And Soul
5:35 $0.99
8. Rhonda Lynne
8:01 $0.99
9. You Are My Sunshine
4:19 $0.99
10. Birdlike
4:03 $0.99
11. The Sisterhood Revisited
4:28 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Trumpeter Kenny Rittenhouse has led his own jazz quartet for the past 14 years performing in and around the Washington, DC area. He has performed with such jazz artists as drummer Ralph Peterson; saxophonists Don Braden, Buck Hill and Steve Wilson; bassists James King and Dwayne Dolphin. He also performs regularly with The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
In 1988 he earned a B.A. in trumpet performance from West Virginia Wesleyan College and also did graduate work at The Eastman School of Music, studying arranging and improvisation with Ray Wright and Bill Dobbins. In May 2006 he earned a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from the University of Maryland.
Kenny is currently of The Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, part of The United States Army Band (Pershing’s Own) in Washington, DC.


The Francis Suite is a four movement suite written for my family:

TINY’S CRIB refers to my father Russell. He was so tiny as a baby, his father used to carry him around in his coat pocket. He was a laid-back, gentle man who had an enormous influence on me.

THE SISTERHOOD is for my three sisters Penny, Rhonda, and my twin sister Jennifer. I learned some valuable lessons from them growing up. Since our mother’s passing, Penny has become the matriarch of the family, and what an excellent job she’s doing!

LAST OF THE SOUL BROTHERS refers to my brothers Carleton and Michael. They grew up with the 70’s with Soul music, 8-track tapes, and yes...velvet paintings!

FRANCIS was the first piece I wrote in the suite, dedicated to my mother Kay Francis. She worked tirelessly her entire life to provide for all of us. And through her education and activism, she taught us how to survive and make the most out of life.

My arrangement of YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE is dedicated to the love of my life, Stacey! Without her support and inspiration, this project would have never happened. I had a smile on my face the entire time I was recording this tune because it was a surprise to her!

MALCOLM’S RETURN is in memory of Malcolm X’s Hajj to Mecca. The different sections of the tune mirror his changing vision of the world during this period in his life.

RHONDA LYNNE was written in memory of my sister, who I miss dearly everyday! Like our mother, her dedication and compassion to her children was her life!

I arranged AMAZING GRACE in memory of my nephew Ronald “Jay” Kinzer. He was like a brother to me. He had a larger-than-life persona about him that left a huge impression on everyone he met. We miss him!

The Musicians that I worked with on this recording are some of the most swingin’ “cats” in Washington. Their interpretation of my original songs was powerful and moving; exactly what I wanted!
I’ve been working with J.C. Jefferson, Jr. now for about 14 years. His rhythmic concept really drives the band and his solo work on Tiny’s Crib shows him to be an extremely musical drummer!
When bassist Michael Bowie isn’t here in Washington, you can find him in New York city playing with jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln, of which he made several recordings with. Pay particular attention to his solo on Amazing Grace, it is absolutely beautiful. Rhonda Lynne is a feature for our pianist Janelle Gill. Her rhythmic and melodic approach helped to develop the ballad beyond what I ever imagined. It was a joy playing with her on the cd because she just plays all the right stuff!
The two horn players working with me on this project are originally from Philadelphia, which accounts for their hard bop approach to the music. Saxophonist Antonio Parker’s presence on the recording is powerful. He plays with an unrelenting swing that propels the music forward. Listen to his solo on Tiny’s Crib to hear how he devours the changes! I’ve been working with Bill Holmes for many years and have always been impressed with his concept of improvisation. Influenced by trombonist J.J. Johnson, Bill’s solo lines are very melodic as well as funky. Check out Last Of The Soul Brothers for one of his finest solos.



to write a review

Sam Crain

Cool Sounds
This is a very nice listen. Kenny Rittenhouse is a most able player, who's done his listening homework(Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown and Woody Shaw come to mind at times listening to him)and has a good band with him. The arrangements are very imaginative, and the whole package has a nice warm feel to it. If you like straight-ahead jazz, you'll want to pick this one up.

Aaron Rumley

I am a listener of alot of smooth jazz classics and am a fan of simple trios and quartets. I have not before listened to the kind of jazz that Kenny plays, and it has opened new windows of listening for me. The combination of all of the styles that he plays second to none or at most a very few.

Well done, and I'm already excited for the next CD

Neil L. King

A must have for all serious straight-ahead jazz fans
This recording is a must have for all serious straight-ahead jazz fans. Mr. Rittenhouse's solos and writing showcase why he a highly in-demand force on the D.C. jazz scene. It mentions in the description box that Rittenhouse is a “top-notched academically-trained trumpeter.” Often times in the jazz world academically trained musicians do not come off as being musical, but rather sterile and sometimes cold. I assure you that after listening to this CD, this is not the case with this trumpeter. It is evident that Mr. Rittenhouse honed his skills on the bandstand as well as in the practice room.

His solos are swinging with remnants of the masters such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, and Lee Morgan, yet uniquely displaying his own style. As you listen to him, notice the way that he ends phrases with a trace of a very inimitable vibrato that is his alone. The construction and swing in his solos can only be found in the 60’s recordings on the Bluenoteâ label. It is quite evident that he has virtuosic technique, but this never gets in his way as he navigates swinging phrases and motifs throughout. His writing and arrangements are tastefully done and thoroughly contrived. Just check out his rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”, a song that if done in any other style could come off as being a bit “corny”. However, in this ensemble it adds a great freshness and lighter side to the other selections, giving the listener variety for the palette.

The sidemen on this disc are definitely leaders in their own right. Trombonist Bill Holmes and Alto Saxophonist Antonio Parker play second to no one. Their ability to blend and play as a member of the ensemble is uncanny. Their solo work displays great maturity and the utmost tact and swing. The rhythm section as Rittenhouse states in his liner notes, “Are some of the hardest swiging cats in D.C.” And they prove to be just that. Listen to the hip voicing being provided by pianist Janelle Gill. Her solos are very tasty and she seems to play all the right things. Drummer JC Jefferson, plays with a melodic element that compliments and directs the ensemble. Bassist Michael Bowie, no stranger to jazz listeners gives a deep full timbre’ and drives the band just as you would expect from a known “oak tree jazzman” (e.g. oak tree jazzman-one with deep roots and branches swinging).

For the audiophiles, the sound is superbly mastered and the group is recorded with an “out front” quality, as all jazz recordings should be done! This CD proves to be a very superb effort from Mr. Rittenhouse. We are sure to hear more from this talented trumpet man him in the future.