Born: September 30, 1954 Primary Instrument: Keyboard
Multi-Grammy nominated artist, Patrice Rushen has definitely earned the respect she has been awarded by her peers in the music industry.
Admired by many for her groundbreaking achievements, Rushen has amassed an impressive list of “firsts”. She was the first woman to serve as Musical Director for the 46th, 47th & 48th Annual Grammy Awards, the first woman in 43 years to serve as Head Composer/Musical Director for television’s highest honor, the Emmy Awards and the first woman Musical Director of the NAACP Image Awards, an honor she held for 12 consecutive years. Rushen has also been the only woman Musical Director/Composer for the People’s Choice Awards and HBO’s Comic Relief. She was the only woman Musical Director/Conductor/Arranger for a late-night television talk show. The show was The Midnight Hour, which aired on CBS. In addition, Rushen was named the Musical Director/Composer for Newsweek’s first American Achievement Awards, broadcast from the Kennedy Center and she served as the Musical Director for Janet Jackson’s World Tour, “janet.” As the Musical Director for the award shows, she composed and performed special musical tributes to Michael Landon, Ted Turner, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, The Temptations, James Garner and Leonard Bernstein to name a few. Rushen was named Composer in Residence during the August 2004 sessions at the Henry Mancini Institute.
A classically trained pianist, Rushen has spent a lifetime honing the skills that make her one of the music industry’s most versatile and sought after artists. In 1998, she was again honored by the music industry when her adult contemporary CD, “Signature”, received a Grammy nomination. The CD also received an NAACP Image Award nomination and also landed in the top ten of the adult contemporary jazz charts. The critically lauded, chart topping style she championed in the 70’s and 80’s — a jazz/R&B/pop fusion that combines melodic accessibility with instrumental prowess. This not only became her signature style, but also has continued to be a mainstay of popular radio.
Considered one of the world's top jazz pianists, Rushen has performed with and produced for such esteemed artists as Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Prince, Lionel Hampton, Carlos Santana, Boys II Men, George Benson, Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jones, Nancy Wilson, Michael Jackson, Dianne Reeves, Sheena Easton, Stanley Turentine, Joshua Redman and on and on. She has played at some of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals and events.
Rushen has performed with Philharmonic Orchestras and has even written an award-winning symphony. She has served as Composer in Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for the 2000 & 2001 concert season. She has composed several symphonic works since 2000, each a commissioned assignment by a major orchestra and the World Premiere of each one of the symphonic works has been performed to rave reviews.
She has 14 solo albums to her credit and a greatest hits anthology released on Rhino Records in 1997. She has also recorded two albums with The Meeting, the world-renowned jazz super-group, which includes Rushen, Ndugu Chancler and Ernie Watts.
Currently, Rushen is Chair of Popular Music at the esteemed USC Thornton School of Music. She is also a professor and “Ambassador for Artistry in Education” at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, in Boston where in 2006 she received an honorary doctorate in music. Her focus also includes composing for films, television and orchestras. Rushen still enjoys performing and is often asked to make guest appearances at music festivals around the world and on the recording projects of other artists. She was the host of Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, “40 Years of the Monterey Jazz Festival,” which has been released on DVD. She was also featured on HGTV’s “Houses of Note” special.
Rushen spends whatever free time she has working closely with the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the NARAS “Grammy In The Schools” program and other organizations dedicated to establishing music education and mentorship programs for inner-city youth.
For more information, visit Rushen's website www.PatriceRushen.com and the fan site at www.facebook.com/PatriceRushenAuthorizedFanPage