"He's a funkier Cole Porter, a master of the wry & clever..."
"Best Bet! Funky bassist-singer Ritt Henn is just off-kilter enough..."
-Los Angeles Times
Ritt began playing bass in the 5th grade when they were looking for a tall kid to play the upright in the school orchestra. By high school, hip teachers were letting him write songs in lieu of taking tests. He began performing in coffeehouses; upon graduating from Bucknell University with a degree in music and psychology, he bought a white 3-piece suit and joined a lounge band.
While continuing to pay bills as a sideman - he's worked with Buddy Rich, Chuck Berry, Tom Jones an whistled for Michael Jackson - Ritt actively pursues his solo career, playing with his trio or often just his bass. His sound reflects his record collection at home: jazz with a dose of old-school r&b and blues. His songs touch on life, love and the pursuit of happiness, laced with a wit that sometimes simmers, sometimes boils. When appropriate, his live performances incorporate elements of storytelling and humor; and yes, sometimes he's even been known to just shut up and play.
Ritt's opened for Christine Lavin and Soupy Sales, and performed on the main stage at the Pori Jazz Festival (Finland) between Freddie Hubbard and Bela Fleck. He's toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, received radio airplay worldwide, performed live on national radio in Belgium, and been a winner at the Sierra Songwriters Festival and a finalist in the jazz category of the Independent Music Awards. His latest CD, Goin' Back (Soundpost Records), features cats who've played with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Marvin Gaye to No Doubt.
Always seeking new avenues of personal expression, Ritt's damn proud of the fact that he's produced over 140 episodes of his own public access TV series, "A Man, a Bass & a Box of Stuff," 28-1/2 miunutes of music and conversation with independent artists slugging it out in the trenches of the music business. It's been on the air in Los Angeles and New York since 1993. (See it on the web at www.ritthenn.com.) He's also portrayed an alien bassoonist on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," won a Drama-Logue award for his role as an inbred bass-playing gas station attendant in the Hollywood production of "Pump Boys & Dinettes," and thrilled thousands as the loveable, golden-voiced murderer Officer Bell in the world premiere of "The People vs. Mona" at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Ritt has conducted workshops in conjunction with his instructional book, "Writing Charts Even a Bass Player Can Read," and clinics touting the wonders of the almighty Azola BugBass, the electric upright that he proudly endorses. He's also an endorsee for B-Band, the folks who make his bitchin' acoustic bass pick-up, and SWR, whose California Blonde amp looks and sounds mighty sweet sittin' there on the set of Ritt's TV show.
Yet it all pales in comparison to the thrill of laying down the groove to "Stand By Me" with Ben E. King at a used auto parts convention in Las Vegas.
Says Mr. Henn, "Life is pretty darn near good." Yup.