photo : Patrice Rushen.com
Now, I'm gonna ask you....
Burning Question :
do you just play.... when you feel like it?
PATRICE : Practicing......
Thats a two-fold answer. Practicing for me at this stage.... is a state of mind.Im always practicing. If Im listening to something..... I'll get up And , I'll practice again.
PATRICE : [ If ] I like something, Ill practice it.
PATRICE : When I hear somebody else play, Ill practice.
I think to get to that place where its a perpetual state of mind, you have to understand the process.
Damn. I Feel U.
PATRICE : The process of practicing comes with just spending time on a daily basis with your art and communicating with your instruments & then.... it grows. I mean as a musician ( I know you know ) one of the things that you REALLY find out when youre getting into your music , that if you keep doing it .....just the discipline of trying to learn how to hear music and what the elements are to make the music, you find yourself doing it everyday ! You'll find yourself making progress, & what you learn after years and years of just practicing is that
it becomes almost like a life lesson for everything else.
PATRICE : Through learning how to play , you also learn a lot about you.
exactly if you're truly trying to play the instrument.
PATRICE : Yea...if youre really trying to play the instrument, youre also going to get to a place where it becomes an extension of who you are. And if youre not taking care of business in a particular aspect of your private life chances are youre going to look at a place in your life that parallel that
PATRICE : yknow music has a way of being like that. It has a way of sort of helping you mirror some stuff in a different way.
If one is Blessed to have it in their lives.....
PATRICE : Thats right. Thats right. Its so key and thats why I think for those of us that have that tremendous blessing and good fortune to be about the music, that we just continue to reach for excellence in whatever area that is. We just keep working it keep doing it cuz that vibe, that energy, that exercise, that that message it gets out there. And people respond to it in different ways some people for the sake of enjoyment, others are inspired to maybe do their thing a little differently or better, some people even pick up an instrument that fills whatever. The point is ....that theres a certain kind of person that can appreciate art and beauty and understand the process ....and know that theres stuff going on around us all the time that should remind us that it aint all about us.
Yeah you'd think one would pay attention to things.
But some people are asleep, Patrice.
And , Like MOST "Sheep.... their "Wool" only gets Nappier , til' they get "Straightened" out !
Aiiiiiight, Im gonna throw some names at ya....
PATRICE : Bad~Bad~BAD And, I mean that in the best sense of the word. During his time, he was out without inhibitions. Musically broke down some doors in terms of certain kinds of notes being played together or not. Yknow?
'TRICE : Unconventional at a time.... when it was good to be conventional.
'TRICE : Okay!!!
Monk wrote the word on MORE than Half of what's goin' on NOW !!!
'TRICE : Oohh how about : THIS!
Oh my Gawd ! He found his own way around thangz....
'TRICE : You gotta find a way.
"Im gonna hit what I hear and its gonna come out the way I Heard it & Im gonna hit it how .... Im wanna hit it."
THAT... was Monk !!
Duke Ellington photo : Claxton
PATRICE : oh man The "Personification" of class !
PATRICE : because you know musically we know his contribution !!
But, I think one of the things really for me was that was most striking about the guy (besides being an awesome musician), was the fact that he could hold an organization together for that long.
Aaaww, man ...
PATRICE : He always gave the appearance that he was always under control ! See that I think is an important thing to for us to take note of is that you can very quietly and very elegantly and very er professionally er fight the fight. You do not have to be the biggest thing all the time. Every fight isnt won by that kind of immediate in your face kind of confrontation. Theres the steady on going were just quietly over in here doing this while we take care of so much business that seems to be happening in terms of the imagery of what I conjure up to be. And, thats beyond the music.
*My life is "Flashing before my Eyes" *
Bud Powell photo: Francis Wolf
PATRICE : SHUT UP!!
Dont do that.....
A casualty of I dont know....Can you have too much of it ?
and it just consumes you to the point that you dont have a certain kind of discipline in other ways?
Where you just self-destruct?
Yeah. Its crazy aint it? Brilliance is a trippy-ass thing.
PATRICE : these geniuses man they were so far out there but they werent seemingly just not able to keep the low life skills in order.
it's Deep ....
hahaha I thought I'd get something out of ya like that.
PATRICE : Well, it's just like you were saying in terms of me being in that whole period of funkadelic,
Bernie was/IS one of people that only musicians KNEW ....
but to the masses were the unsung heroes. Because this kat was so deep & so profound in the way that he would be able to like do this over here and put it [this] over there and stuff would be like locking and fitting. And of course deserving George gets a tremendous amount of credit cause it was his vision & his understanding and his choices. But, you gotta have soldiers in there too!
PATRICE : [soldiers] who "Get It" & who are driven.
And, Hes Julliard graduate by the way!
( Not that it means a Damn Thang He was prolly TEACHING THEM ?!?! )
PATRICE : OKAY ? And, just coming from wherever HE wanted it to come from...
that's what Bernie Worrell means to me.
Bernie Worrell.... is sonic Genius
'TRICE : OK?!!
its like the tune "Atmosphere" from the "Lets take it to the stage" album.
'TRICE : Exactly !!!
Hes the father of that sound & EVERYBODY knows what THAT sound is.
'TRICE : There wasnt any other way.
There really wasnt
'TRICE : Bernie obviously had the understanding, & had obviously known the tradition .
'TRICE : What if you put this on that ?!?
And, He'll still play it HIS way, and it can be very classical....
But, hed lay it in such a spot ,that you just HAD to deal with it.
PATRICE : What can I say?
Man I would say.... one of the most influential musicians that I would probably call
I would call him one of my peers, from the standpoint that we are in the same generation.
PATRICE : I saw his career start from the beginning and yknow, just from outside looking in witnessed its rise and I witness this interesting place of where its leveling right now. Ive seen him go through a lot of changes. Ive seen him have a tremendous focus and seen it put across his music. Ive seen him loose his focus and seen that put across his music.
PATRICE : yknow one of the last rare opportunities to really watch the rise of an artist... and when I say artist I really mean somebody that really embodies the contemporary point of view. When youre talking about that level of art.
PATRICE : Actually, its almost unfair to call it an "arrangement" because he already kinda knew what he wanted. But I did for all intent and purposes I did a "String arrangement" for a song called :Baby.
PATRICE : that was our first opportunity to work together. Weve kept in touch off and on during those years. I would run into him at places, I would go to the concerts, and he would see me do some things. He kept up with me as well. Never really had a "hang out all the time/bosom buddy" kinda thing yknow a lot of people have had that with him (I imagine). He definitely surpassed anything I could have imagined. ( For myself anyway ) in terms of record sales & superstardom but the point is yknow his contributions are still felt. And hes a young man. Im waiting to see ok at this stage in his life whats that going to be? Cos whenever and however it reoccurs he cant help but do something that demands a certain kind of attention. And its always provocative.
PATRICE :Ya know . I am so happy.
Ha ha ha ....
PATRICE : them ears came across Forget Me Nots and then he decided he was going to expand upon that with Men in Black. I have to say that although our paths have crossed several times between different award shows he may have done, (And, that I may have been musically directing ) something like that. But we did not know each other.
PATRICE : And, we had never talked about Forget Me Nots
Your lawyer did though!
PATRICE :You know that !!
PATRICE : Its been very interesting to see, again yknow to watch his rise & to see how it works. Its amazing! Yknow
I think the definition of success always is whether or not you are doing or living out any part of your dreams and I have to say mine certainly have been filled with through the successes of other people, in a lot of ways cos Ive been along for the Whole ride and I didnt even do nothin.
Aaaaay Lady you Did the "Damn" Thang !!
PATRICE : Forget Me Nots when it was a hit , I thought that would be it !!
And, that was fine.
those films featuring that song were like 250 million +
So, youve made major contributions from that alone.... and it was all done with one Song ?!?!
just like a song from
the movie "Casablanca"
just like a song from the movie "Casablanca"
PATRICE : There it is!
PATRICE : NO! Forget Me Nots ? The Record Company [elektra] hated it.
PATRICE : (((Hated it ! )))
PATRICE : Im not man.
PATRICE :That album was called Straight from the Heart.
That album had an instrumental on it called Number One.
thats like the new standard now on the young jazz scene. Folks that thought they were too hip for Mr. Magic began to gravitate towards your tune Number One.
PATRICE : Ha ha ha me and my co-producer Charles Mimms charles and I went to a meeting and we turned in this record and they looked at us like we dont know what were gonna do with this!
PATRICE : We were devastated because we were like youre kidding
youve done so many things. You are too many thangs.
Aiiiiiight, Im gonna hit you with this one now that Ive thrown you off guard.....
Art Tatum photo : Jazz Acrhives
PATRICE : Oooh! All I can say about Art Tatum is that to every piano player and ultimately any musician that heard Art Tatum this is the KAT you put on when youre really having a high self-esteem day or a low one.
PATRICE : If youre feeling good about yourself and youre getting a little ahead of yourself yknow?
Hes the equalizer ?
PATRICE : Hes the equalizer.
But, do you know how many people have said that about YOU ?
You have been "the Equalizer" ?
Especially with them little tiny hands of yours. Baby fingers? Are you kidding me? Thats so true man. Ive seen you wear out some kats, now. I just did an "Inner-view" with Don Blackman & you remember when we went to Japan with Lenny [White], Donald, Nick Moroch & Bennie Maupin ? And, I was teasing Donald about how YOU equalize kats even "HIM".
PATRICE : Ha ha ha ha !
and Don Blackman Hes a BAD kat. I was like good lawd . Patrice will get inside you!
Youre something Lady.....You have that same thing Patrice. And it has nothing to do with your "ovaries"
NOT A DAMN THANG !!
PATRICE : Ha ha ha !
Ive seen you wear kats OUT !.
You know I was there.....
PATRICE : oh man. See this kat this was one of my first musical heroes. Because his music always attracted me because of course, it always felt great. Just musically, man it just had so much stuff in it.
PATRICE : Even as a baby.
Can you imagine?
PATRICE : Oh my goodness.
"Music of my mind" ....and he was like 20-21 years old ?!?!
PATRICE : Okay?!! Hes still wearing me out and I just recently had the
opportunity to be music director for BETs Walk of Fame
and they did this whole
show contributed to Stevie. So,
I had this opportunity to rediscover his music.
So, I had this opportunity to rediscover his music.And this time having to like really really listen and get those arrangements done. I was like this kat is just off da hook!
PATRICE : and again I think if I could just reiterate [again] about when your environment is so rich with so much stuff obviously hes a genius, no question. But he absorbed so much stuff because it was there to absorb.
and, I think with him being blind .....naturally, hes going to be able to hear better than most.
PATRICE : ya know!!
and on top of him playing music , as well...?
PATRICE : Blind people have a different take on everything.
and he rarely uses his thumbs [while playing piano] . Thats whats even crazier to me.
PATRICE : I know I watch him sometimes. He can come up with a song in the drop of a hat because he draws, again, on this richness that he has been able to absorb.
"Looking for another pure love" ????
PATRICE : Okay ?
WHAT ? Blame it on the sun? He was 22yrs. old ?!?!?
PATRICE : Wow.
I cant imagine what he hears harmonically
And, paraphrasing "Dizzy Gillespie" with a harmonica on Do I Do ?
PATRICE : OKAY ?!?!
How do you paraphrase "Dizzy" on a harmonica?
Much less any instrument..... but on a HARMONICA !?!?!?
Thats crazy to me.
That name is so special & just him as a person is so special in my life , cause that was like yknow theres always a lot of people you listen to and then theres ONE [kat] and suddenly you go wow
(oh thats ella my dog in the background).
the first or second version ?
I was just actually about to ask you about him.
You see Ive spent a lot of time like wanting to tell MILES what his music has meant to me.
And I didnt do it!!
I was afraid..... and, I think I was afraid about what he would think about me.
Miles loved your stuff.
Ha ha ...right ?
He liked you a lot 'Trice.
exactly. All a person can say is: no, huh?
that is soooooo cool.
USC ( Music Dept. )
PATRICE :At the time I was going there [it] was an incredible department with a wonderful roster of music professors..... in every area except : Jazz
PATRICE :By just playing on television, commercials, & doing scores for different TV shows and motion pictures.
That's usually the case ...in Academic -Land !
oh yeah thats crazy.
Aiiiiight Lady, are you ready to play .....
Hip-Hop or Metal
Roland or Korg
Still lovin' that
"punch" of Analog , but digi has come a long way!
MIDI or Wireless
CD (stuff is more clear)
Art Tatum or Bud Powell
I'm not sure if
there'd have been a Bud Powell
Indies or Majors
but these days , I'm
PC or MAC
Sometimes , I really love just "showing up to play" without the spotlight or the Added pressure.
Thank you, Sooooooo much Lady !!