Image of a woman singing and playing at the piano.

2019: Patrice Rushen, head of the USC Thornton Popular Music program, singing at piano.

Image of a woman singing and playing at the piano.

Patrice Rushen featured in New York Times

“We’re living in Patrice Rushen’s world. We just might not know it yet.” That is how the New York Times summed up the 40-year career of Patrice Rushen in a feature on the chair of the USC Thornton Popular Music program. The article went on to explain that Rushen succeeded in making impactful jazz music while simultaneously creating popular dance music. “In the dilemma between pop success and jazz legitimacy, Ms. Rushen never had to choose,” said the article. Rushen explained it was her goal to excel in both genres. “When we were coming up, the prize was to be as versatile as you could be — to play with anybody,” she said. “You wanted to be able to play jazz with the greats, but you also wanted to know the nuances that allowed you to play dance music and create music that people wanted to move to. The challenge became getting enough vocabulary to have that balance.”

The New York Times article coincided with the July 19 release of Rushen’s new compilation, Remind Me: The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978 – 1984. NPR’s All Things Considered also ran a story on the anthology. “In the grand arc of Rushen’s career, the Elektra years were just one chapter,” said the NPR piece. “But as brief as they may seem in hindsight, those years generated so many iconic jams, fans don’t really need much to remind them.”

TAGS: Contemporary Music, Contemporary Music Division, Popular Music,