Patrice Rushen Biography
courtesy of Elektra/Asylum
Patrice Rushen was an accomplished keyboard player by the age of twelve and had been a highly regarded multi-instrumentalist for years when she released her Elektra/ Asylum debut Patrice in late 1978.
This musician's musician set her sights on a wider audience with that album,
and on Pizzazz, bids to extend her influence and sound even further, with all the spunk and panache the title promises. Pizzazz continues the Rushen tradition of virtuosity--Patrice wrote all the songs, coproduced the album and arranged all the instruments she didn't play.
She's also refined the vocal style she had begun to develop on Patrice; her singing on Pizzazz is stronger than ever. Patrice was born September 30, 1954 in Los Angeles, where she has lived all her life. A genuine child prodigy, she began studying music at age three and was giving piano recitals by the time she was six.
"My first attraction to music," Patrice says, "was from an entertainment standpoint. My parents subscribed to a record club, so I heard every style of music. I saw it on television, listened to it on the radio, went to dances and parties.
By the time I was twelve, all the Motown hits were coming fast, and I bought all the Beatles albums. But all the while I was studying classical piano music quite seriously."
She was three when the University of Southern California enrolled her in its special music preparatory program.
"We had an eurhythmics class where graduate students studied how little kids were sensitive to sounds.
Instead of talking about eighth notes and sixteenth notes, we talked about running notes and skipping notes, happy chords and sad chords.
Even today, what gets to me is not dazzling technique but the clarity of thought, the emotionalism." Patrice continued to work with the USC special programs through her college years. She studied with a succession of three piano teachers, practicing at first on an old upright, then on the Yamaha baby grand acquired for her when she was eleven.
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