Kenny Rittenhouse

Kenny Rittenhouse


The Kenny Rittenhouse Sextet is one of the hardest swinging and most in demand jazz groups in the greater DC metro area. The group was formed several years ago and has appeared in such venues as famed Blues Alley Jazz Club and the Smithsonian Jazz Café. They’ve just released “The Francis Suite”.


The Kenny Rittenhouse Sextet is one of the hardest swinging and most in demand jazz groups in the greater DC metro area. The group, under the direction of trumpeter Kenny Rittenhouse, was formed several years ago and has appeared in such venues as the famed Blues Alley Jazz Club and the Smithsonian Jazz Café. The Kenny Rittenhouse Sextet recently recorded their debut release titled “The Francis Suite”. “The Francis Suite” is receiving rave reviews and is currently being played on DC jazz station WPFW. The ensemble performs with intensity and fervor, focusing on the concept of “swing”. The sextet pays homage to the blue note recording artist of the 60’s. This gifted performers pride themselves on presenting bop/post bop styles and modern originals as well as establishing a report with their audience that few others produce.

"The Francis Suite" CD notes.
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 this recoding 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.

JazzTimes Magazine Review
from the September 2007 issue

The Francis Suite (Kaela)

This sextet album flies out of the gate in a hard-edged post-bop groove, burning with both power and soul. Rittenhouse’s trumpet work is solid, cutting and just a little raw in the up-tempo numbers, while the slower tracks have a comfortable, gliding ambience that is also appealing. Although the initial impact fades as the set drifts into more lightweight fare, and some of the standards feel forced, the disc’s joie de vivre is undeniable and infectious. Forrest Dylan Bryant

June 10, 2007

When a musician is willing to completely bare his soul to the world, unhampered by thoughts of criticism, the resulting sounds can be refreshingly optimistic and should be regarded as an honest artistic representation of the human experience. Without a hint of restraint, Washington, DC trumpeter Kenny Rittenhouse celebrates the blessings of his life on The Francis Suite, a highly personal, modern jazz tribute to his family.

The title of the disc refers to Rittenhouse’s four-movement suite dedicated to his father (“Tiny’s Crib”), sisters (“The Sisterhood”), brothers (“Last of the Soul Brothers”) and mother (“Francis”). The pensive nature of “Francis,” a light, engaging waltz, is the most compelling of the suite. The subtle contrapuntal effect of alto saxophone against a flowing trumpet melody clears the air for lyrical solos over the tune’s colorful harmonic sequence.

With a brawny tone, Rittenhouse approaches his solos with determination and a free spirit of spontaneity, resulting in unpredictable melodic development. The trumpeter’s curiosity to explore the outer limits of harmonic boundaries is facilitated by masterful technique and a lyrical imagination. From the soulful swinging lines on “The Sisterhood” to the restrained romantic lyricism on “Rhonda Lynne,” Rittenhouse communicates in a convincing, vocal-like manner. The influence of Freddie Hubbard is heard unabashedly on the legendary trumpeter’s hard-bop anthem “Birdlike.”

To aid in his highly personal musical quest, Rittenhouse has called on a stellar crew of like-minded DC musicians who are up to the progressive challenge proposed by his diverse composing and arranging. Antonio Parker has an aggressive approach to the alto saxophone and his biting tone tears through “Malcolm’s Return” with the tenacity of a pit bull. Trombonist Bill Holmes provides strong support to the ensemble and lays out some swinging funk on “Last of the Soul Brothers.” Bassist Michael Bowie, who performs regularly with vocalist Abbey Lincoln, provides top notch support with inventive lines


The Francis Suite