Patrice Louise Rushen (born September 30) is quite the jazz pianist and R&B singer. She’s also a composer, record producer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and music director. Her 1982 single, “Forget Me Nots“, received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Rushen had great success on the R&B and dance charts. “Haven’t You Heard” went number 7 on the R&B charts, with “Forget Me Nots” as her only top 40 pop hit. Patrice is held high within the Jazz community as one of the Best of her generation on piano.
In her teens, she attended south LA’s Locke High School and went on to earn a degree in music from the University of Southern California. Respectfully known among her legions of fans as “Baby-fingers,” a reference to her small hands. Berklee School of Music bestowed on her, a Doctorate in Music. She is currently holding down an important academic post at the University of Southern California in their school of Performing Arts. all the while being a wife,a mom, and still taking first-calls for recording and production assignments in Television and Films. There are rumors floating around ,she may have been selected to be part of an ambitious Television project involving children and the jazz legacy of Hazel Scott. Who by the way, was a child prodigy just like Patrice. According to unnamed sources,we found out, there’s a new children’s book series(Little Melanie) being developed for Television involving British and American kids in the cast.
Ms. Rushen will supervised the musical aspects. a London-based production studio. London-5-Studios are the executive producers. #LittleMelanieMyGrandPiano, #London5Studios
Once in a lunar eclipse weekend you might get some pretty good entertainment in selected spots around Los Angeles, but to get great jazz, that requires planning ahead and research. for the last 39 years , in an unlikely area of south central Los Angeles wedged between a Junior high school , railroad tracks, some proud residents, and a Los Angeles landmark , built by an immigrant, Simon Rhodia of concrete, steel and broken glass.
The Watts Towers Jazz Festival took its familiar bow September 26 & 27th . The festival features a “Day of the Drum“, with supporting activities of all cultures and ethnicities celebration of drums, throw in Jazz from around the world by local, regional and international musicians performing on a live stage that looked like a revival tent. This writer had planned in advance to get there in time to catch Carmen Lundy & Patrice Rushen performing as single acts , but also together as well.
Carmen took the stage with her own group featuring her iconic bassist and brother, Curtis Lundy. After a couple of hot jazz numbers , Carmen called up Patrice to sit in with her group on selections from her 14th new CD as a leader. Rushen was simply stellar in her improvisations on cuts like “Life is a Song in Me” and title track, “Soul to Soul”. In my humble opinion , this is Grammy material. grab a copy at your usual source for purchasing music online.
Patrice Rushen and Ndugu are both products of the Watts community ,while being alumni of Locke High school under the mentorship of musician /Educator Reggie Andrews. Patrice and Ndugu fronted an all-star band of Nedra Wheeler on Bass and Justo Almario on saxophone, Munyungo Jackson on percussion. In their set they chose to celebrate the genius of several iconic jazz masters, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Horace Silver, and a couple of others to the audience’s delight.
Weekend’s events were beautifully MC’d by Jazz program host James Janisse, and Poet Laureate and Griot ,Kamau Daood.