Ladies & Gents.....
A conversation with :
( Composer / Pianist )
photo: Elektra records
Hey Lady......What are U doin ???
PATRICE : Today ?
Ha ha ha.....
PATRICE : Kickin back a little bit .
Finishing up some Paperwork .
Answering Emails .
Ahh, man ..... Let me get myself together before we start !
* Cause, Im still in FAN mode *
Howve you Been , Trice ???
PATRICE : Good ! BUSY !!!
Ya, know .A little of this / a little of that .
I have this , like . ( as you know ) this Amazing ( kinda ) Career , that allows me to just KEEP GROWING !!
In ALL KINDS of Directions !!
So, I have all of these different turns to make Music !
Im playin some
photo : Franz Zermeuhlen
That's cause you're too many Thangz !!
PATRICE : Aaaaay , so ..Im just having a ball ! Its NEVER Boring !
Theres Always SOMETHIN Goin on .
And, ahh you know Tryin to Contribute & Represent !
Its crazy, I havent seen U since .JAPAN !
PATRICE : "Ha ha ha"
And, all of that But PATRICE
PATRICE : Yes ?
You KNOW what my Song is ? *I always use to tell her this*
THE HUMP off of that Prestige record U did
PATRICE : "Whew"
Aaaww, man .Al Mckay & Charles Meeks ?
PATRICE : He he he
The Horn charts on there were just sooooo perfect, for that groove .
PATRICE : "Whoo Hoooo"
That was my shit , growning up.....& tryin to learn how to play.
And , You were like a BABY ! What ?
PATRICE : Yea..... I started recording when I was 19 yrs. Old
PATRICE: And, that 1st LP on Prestige was like.......
back in the days , when you could Experiment !
And, then from there just kept Trying things!
But, back then you were Allowed to try stuff !
PATRICE : I dont know what THAT was all about ?!?!?
Maybe, we were all Write-Offs to those Big companies, and they werent paying attention in the same way.
I did 3 albums for Prestige .
PATRICE : And, Elektra ..by the time I got there, I was kind of experimenting with .
the Beginnings of what we now know as being Smooth Jazz !
But , it wasnt really THAT !
It was commercial music . It was R&B . Steeped really heavily in R&B, but it was Instrumental !
Obviously, being a JAZZ Musician I borrowed from that, as well.
You know... with the Harmony thing & Improvisational thing.
We were just doin whatever we wanted to do !!!
Too many thangs YOU can borrow from So MANY places !
A LOT of people Cant do that !
To make Harmonic things DANCEable Thats a hard Task !
PATRICE : Yea .
I dont care what anybody says ITs VERY HARD !!!
PATRICE : Uh huh ..
Take a song like ( not just ) KNEE DEEP those chords Junie (Morrison) wrote were VERY INTERESTING !!
photo: junie morrison.com
PATRICE : " YES .... Absolutely "
[Bassist] Darryl Jones told me when he had let Miles borrow his tape (of KNEE DEEP) and, Miles NEVER returned it !!
PATRICE : HA.
I knew Miles always dug P-Funk, but He was REALLY done , when he heard that!
And, You were at the forefront of that movement! The stuff U were doin THEN....is NEW, Now !!
PATRICE : Its amazing how that happens , ya know ?
Part of that came from Well , I know you got in on the tail end of it , for sure !
And that is :
"BLACK MUSIC has Always been SO RICH, man !!! "
Just full of So- Much- Stuff !!
PATRICE : Based upon.... So-Much-Stuff !!
You know ? I mean .Its just Deep!
Because the BLUES , GOSPEL, REGGAE , & JAZZ All of it is coming from the SAME Root !
And, its just all of these different Amazing Branches of this ROOT that just keeps Growing & Growing .
So, this was a time when All of that Growth was Encouraged !
PATRICE : And, I think thats how you acquire the ability, to do all of these different kinds of Harmonic things or Improvisational things . on top of a groove.
None of it is Foreign ! None of it . its All ORGANIC !!
PATRICE : Because there was a time,
when it was around you . all of the time.
All of that Music all of that creativity, and all of that development was just a foregone conclusion...
that you could hear it , whether you were sittin in the Pulpit at church or in a Jazz club...
You're gonna hear the Root of the SAME THANG !
Ha ha ha.....
PATRICE : That creativity & that "Spontaneity" in whatever it was !
Ya know ?
Yea its deep cause , alot of the Jazz Kats were the musicians . who didnt go to church!
PATRICE : Right ! But, they Knew
And, so the Blues & Gopsel spawned Jazz etc. etc.etc.
But, its Trippy that you used the word Rich to describe Black Music as a whole .
* as a Hoe, these days*
Cause, a lot of that music came from such an impoverished state of being!
PATRICE : Umfph ,Umfph , Umfph
The irony is soooo deep What ?
PATRICE : Yea....
Okay, I know youre classially trained
but , how does one come into Scoring everything from the Emmys telecast to Forget me nots ?
PATRICE : Well , ya know .ahhhh ..the Journey has been Super !!
Yes, Im classially trained as a Pianist But , you know I grew up in a household where
( and, I know a lot of young folks wont remember this, who read your Inner-views )
We used to have these things called : Spindles
Ha ha haha .45s if u will.
PATRICE : A bunch of records in a stack !!
And, let them fall as they ..may !!
PATRICE : Wed play em Back to Back to Back to Back .
In the order, that Ud like ?
PATRICE : Aaaaay , U Dig ?
So, saturday mornings were like Clean-Up Day at our house !
And, the way we would do it was .
we would put on a Stack of Records, everybody would choose what they wanted .
the Stack might be like this : Ella Fitzgerald followed by Perry Como then......
" Sly " ?
PATRICE : ''Beethoven'' followed by Trane
'TRICE : Ya know what Im sayin ? ...with some James Brown thrown up in there !!
'TRICE : And, some Stevie Wonder thrown up in there !
Good lawd .And, youre talkin about 16-19yr. Old Stevie ??????
'TRICE : "EXACTLY"
For once in my life solo on a damn HARMONICA ???
'TRICE : OKAY ????
photo : Motown Archives
'TRICE : I mean, you know .. THATS WHAT I GREW UP ON !!
Aaaaay....Me Too !!
'TRICE : So, it was part of our activity
youre washing the car or youre vaccuming the rug .
you know, sweeping the floor .And, youre hearing all of this music !
Perry & Stevie
PATRICE : U Dig ?
PATRICE:You wanna know how I got from one ( musical ) place to the Other?
PLEASE , tell da peoples...
PATRICE : It was just all encompassing ALL OF THE TIME !
It was all ONE THING !
And, it was ONLY divided by what we liked as opposed to what kind of music it was !
Damn. That explains everything !!
PATRICE : Yeah.
So, from listening to all of that music on Cleaning Day it sorta made U able to See in the Dark !! ( Musically )
You could see ALL STYLES !!
PATRICE : Cause, it was just all apart of the environment !
All of that music ALL OF THE TIME !!
Just a whole different dose of another element.
And, then growing up in L.A. & hearing Salsa
The variety & the diversity that was within the music , plus goin to school & learning how to play an instrument....
that was a BIG part of it , too !
PATRICE : Because , then youre subject to wanting to hear & understand , and know about what your peers thought was Hip , ya know ..And some of them may have a whole other take on what they think is Hip ! And, what they play on their Stack of records might be different from what you play on your stack !
PATRICE : I mean it was just . A good time !
That spawned a kind of interest among people of that generation, the ability to be interested in a lot of Stuff !
And, hear a lot of things & appreciate All of it !
Your work has survived all of these years cause folks are STILL checkin for your Music !
R. Kelly , Will Smith , George Michael , Mary J. etc. And, to me Thats Hardcore !
Cause, YOU CAN REALLY PLAY !!! To show ANY sort of Virtuosity" and remain POPULAR ? on the Radio ?
PATRICE : Today its harder, cause they want you to Choose !?!?!??
PATRICE : So, the industry ( unfortunately ) has the hazard of becoming so Large, so Huge
With there being so much money in
it , He, who has the
Has the Power
And, from a marketing perspective I guess, its difficult ! ( ya know ? )
We were just like Chameleons !
Youre doing all of this writng and playin & producing, learning all of these things, growing as an Artist .
And , the record company was like :
"WILL YOU STAY IN ONE PLACE , AND DO ONE THING
SO WE CAN DEVELOPE AN AUDIENCE TO BUY IT ?!?!? "
Story of my life
photo : Elektra records
PATRICE : "Youre confusing us ...... youre confusing the people".
I mean I used to literally hear those words. You know its confusing to the audience.
PATRICE : I dont know I just think people are smarter than that, man .
As though there might be someone whos confused .....but it is only out of not really knowing where the artist is coming from and maybe they need to be told or maybe they just choose not to follow it.
Get on the bus or dont get on the bus yknow?
PATRICE : I dont really know.... if we will ever get to that. I hope we do.
PATRICE : but I dont really know if the record companies will ever get it. I thought the initial deal, was to capture performances & release performances of these wonderful artists, and watch and follow their development.... it used to be a lot of fun.
photo : Elektra records
yeah.. but, theyre not in the business of art anymore.
PATRICE : No NOT !!
its about the bottom line and its been like that for about 20 years now. I mean it's an "extreme sports" version of that , now.
PATRICE : Exactly.
PATRICE : But one of the things that I think will happen is til' things settle down a little bit, in terms of how people are feeling one of the things that I think is going to equalize the playing field again I believe its going to be the internet & with ability to be able to get music without the influence of what has become part of the hype of radio yknow the advertising dollars that went into the only forms we used to have ...where people could hear that your [records] were out which was radio!
PATRICE : I mean that situation became so corrupt there, for a while in terms of airplay and who got in the business. And see now when we have so many other ways to get information
including the original way which was somebody saying :
Hey.. I just bought this record and its phat!
You hear it on the radio, a friend says its nice , you got it & checked it out.
PATRICE :You know that might help and I think as soon as these economics (in terms of how artists are compensated and how things are maintained) as soon as that is locked in so that there are certain types of regulations. Its already happening where record companies may become extinct in terms of the way we knew them.
Yeah, thats already changed .
The playing field is getting more & more leveled.
Actually , I love that.
I love that.
Especially for someone in my situation. You know what I mean ?
PATRICE : Yep.
Its nice 'Trice cause a lot of people are trying to get out of their deals & trying to own their likenesses you know after the label had taken away their websites & all that kind of craziness.....So, its just SO nice NOT to belong ya know? And, NOW ....if you want anything from me, Ill know what the accounting would be from here on out. Ya Heard ?
'TRICE : Uh- huh.
Cause I own everything , now yknow its just kinda nice.
'TRICE : Yea.....
its kinda nice. Especially in this day and age just the Internet alone is leveling the field completely.
'TRICE : There you go.
Leveled it..... completely. And, I am a "survivor" of that.
'TRICE : Ha ha ha !!
PATRICE : Okay ?
Now, I'm gonna ask you ......
Burning Question :
PATRICE RUSHEN ( part II. )