The Ritz is a Boston-based vocal jazz group featuring four singers and a three-piece rhythm section. Founded in 1982 by Darryl Bosteels and Sharon Harris as "Puttin' on the Ritz", it established itself as one of the leading vocal jazz ensembles in the U.S.A. The group is well known for its versatility of style-featuring tunes from the medieval `madrigal' style through the American jazz periods of the '20's to 40's to jazz-fusion sounds of today. They have been the opening act for Gerry Mulligan and the Pointer Sisters.
The Ritz wrote a lot of their own music and arrangements. Darryl says it like this:
"As far as choosing music for the Ritz, myself and Sharon were responsible for that. Sharon enjoyed writing originals mostly, and I was something of a jazz historian with an extensive record collection and loved to find offbeat material for us to perform. In our early albums, we did a few tributes to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, and later to the Four Freshmen and the Hi-Lo's, all favorites of ours. I particularly liked "scat" based numbers such as Flat Foot Floogie, Cottontail, What's This?, and others."
On the album `Movin' up' (our personal favourite) Rebecca Hardiman and Bob Stoloff were replaced by Melissa Hamilton and Bob Martin. Sharon Harris left the group after the album `Flying' which in our view changed the style of the music.
Except from a few leads on the band members we haven't been able to discover any sites on the group. We did find that pianist Jeff Auger and drummer Les Harris Jr. both teach at the University of Southern Maine. Bass man Marty Ballou plays in a R&B group. And Bob Stoloff wrote a book on scat singing.
Nor do we have any information on their recordings after `Flying' or before
the Ritz-album. If you have something to add to this page, please mail us!
News: It seems that most of the albums are sold a Amazon.com again, both used and new. With thanks to Valerie Rita Brown for the heads up.
Thanks to Les Harris Jr.
for providing all the Ritz pictures.
Thanks to both Les Harris Jr. and Darryl Bosteels for the information
Comments? Please mail them.
Last changed : 11 November 2007