One of my biggest musical discoveries of 2022 has to be Patrice Rushen! I couldn't have envisioned this obsession, but the Elektra era hits comp ‘You Remind Me' got me hooked! The individual albums and 5CD box set for her Elektra years are now being rolled out and have been fantastically executed by the Strut corporation.
Rushen is a child prodigy jazz pianist turned R&B singer/songwriter/composer. I think what makes her different to other virtuosos in a similar musical realm is that there's a real approachability and humility in her sophisticated electro-funk-pop, with her ability and the highest calibre technological/human resources at her disposal serving the music, not her ego.
In a nutshell, she’s a living genius! Could she bridge the Steely Dan and Solange generational divide at Christmas lunch??? - Nic
The Patrice Rushen revival is in full swing with definitive reissues of her classic albums and a global Tik Tok dance craze around her best-loved hit, ‘Forget Me Nots’. Now, Strut present her complete Elektra recordings in one essential 5CD set on ‘So Real’.
After a series of acclaimed soul-jazz albums for Prestige Records, Patrice came to Elektra as the label branched out from its trademark soft rock sound to hone a roster catering to the burgeoning “sophisticated R&B” audience during the late ‘70s, at the tail end of the disco boom. Pulling together a tight team of musicians and studio craftsmen that she had worked with and respected through writing and performing sessions in L.A., including her mentor Reggie Andrews and producer Charles Mims, Patrice combined intricate, punchy big band arrangements with her new role as lead vocalist on Patrice in 1978. The album set the template for a series of classic recordings, bringing soulful style and musicality to dancefloors. Pizzazz (1979) ushered in the huge club hit ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and classic tender ballad ‘Settle For My Love’, before Posh and the infectious single ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ a year later. Then in 1982, the landmark album Straight From The Heart and the worldwide crossover success of ‘Forget Me Nots’ following a self-funded PR campaign. Now ended her time with Elektra in 1984, a more stripped back, synth-led affair led by ‘Feels So Real (Won’t Let Go)’ and the reflective ‘To Each His Own’.
As well as through covers, samples and regular use in films, TV and ads (most famously in the film ‘Men In Black’ and on George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’), Patrice’s music has endured over the years as each new generation discovers her recordings. “So much of what happened with these records happened years after they had come out as people discovered them,” Patrice explains. “And that’s the biggest compliment of all, that the music is still being played. It’s kinda cool.”
‘So Real’ features all five of Patrice’s Elektra albums in their expanded editions including 12” versions, instrumentals and unreleased takes from the original sessions. A 28-page booklet features artist photos and recording info and the set has been fully remastered by The Carvery from the original reel to reel tapes. - Strut