Thursday, May 2, 2013

TAKE TWO: PATRICE RUSHEN


After the parents of Los Angeles native, Patrice Rushen discovered that their baby girl was gifted at the piano, they enrolled her in music classes at USC at the age of three. Winning a competition at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1972 lead to Rushen being signed to Prestige Records as a teenager. She recorded several jazz albums and became an in-demand session player before moving on to a major-label, Elektra Records.

It was during this time that Rushen started to blend r&b and funk in to her sound and found commercial success. "Haven't You Heard", "Remind Me" and "Feels So Real (Won't Let Go)" found their way on the pop and r&b charts with "Forget Me Nots" becoming her biggest hit, reaching number twenty-three on the pop chart and number four on the r&b in 1982. This song is now best known for being sampled by Will Smith for the theme song of his film "Men In Black" in 1997.

Patrice Rushen is still very much involved in music but now more behind the scenes. She became the first female musical director for The Grammy Awards, The Emmy Awards, The NAACP Image Awards and The People's Choice Awards.  She also served as the musical director for Janet Jackson's 1993 world tour and has recently traveled as part of the touring band for such jazz artists as Lee Ritenour and Wayne Shorter.

Have a listen to two of my favorite tunes by Ms Rushen:

"Haven't You Heard" - Patrice Rushen (1980)

"Forget Me Nots" - Patrice Rushen (1982)

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