I adore her so.
Let me give you some reasons why you should too. She’s so much more than beads and forget me nots. She’s a piano/keyboard virtuoso who has scored film and television shows amd served as musical director for the Emmys, Grammys, and the Robert Townsend show (remember that?).
One of my pet peeves is that genius musicians who happen to be women, especially those who also happen to be Black, aren’t celebrated nearly enough. The result is that we’re so not use to seeing brilliant women playing instruments brilliantly that any woman (black women especially) with a piano or guitar becomes a novelty. Patrice Rushen is no novelty, she’s tight as hell and has done it all. Kudos to her for having a prolific career as a recording artist, pianist, songwriter, producer, arranger, and musical director.
But less talk, more music.
Let’s start off nice & easy. I LOVE this 1979 ballad from her Pizzazz
And how funky is her song “Music of the Earth.” (I took a break from dancing to type this.)
Here she is at the 1988 Montreux Jazz Festival playing her composition “Shh” with Wayne Shorter and Carlos Santana. I dare you to find me a sexier piece of music.
Now this last one is just pure dopeness. Here she teams up with violin virtuoso Karen Briggs (you know the Black chick who played with Yanni). Their versions here of Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Stevie’s “Send One Your Love,” Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia” are making my day.
And as a bonus, here’s one of my favorite Patrice Rushen songs “Where There is Love”
The impact of her music has reached that pinnacle of late 20th century musical validation in that she’s been sampled or covered by everyone from Will Smith, to Musiq, to 9th Wonder, to Kirk Franklin to Clark Kent.
Bonus Bonus, I found an interview where she discusses her musical background, her career, and her experience being a brilliant musician in a world where people don’t expect said musician to be a woman.