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Pizzazz

Patrice Rushen

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Album Review

When Patrice Rushen was being lambasted by jazz snobs for making the switch from jazz instrumentalist to R&B/pop singer, she was also winning over quite a few people. R&B fans didn't care if she was no longer playing long, improvised piano solos with Joe Henderson or Hubert Laws; they loved her singing, and couldn't have cared less what jazz snobs thought of her new direction. Rushen's profile in the R&B world continued to increase with Pizzazz, her second album for Elektra and fifth overall. The song that did the most to make this LP a success was "Haven't You Heard?," a gem of a single that soared to the top of R&B radio play lists and was among Rushen's biggest hits. Many listeners bought Pizzazz because of "Haven't You Heard?," and they quickly discovered that the rest of the album was also excellent. Drawing on such influences as Earth, Wind & Fire, Minnie Riperton, Stevie Wonder, and the Emotions, Rushen has no problem holding an R&B lover's attention with treasures that include the funky opener "Let the Music Take Me," the soulful ballad "Settle for My Love," and the perky "Keepin' Faith in Love." Pizzazz might have received tongue-lashings from jazz critics, but from an R&B/pop perspective, it's among Rushen's most rewarding and essential albums.

Biography

Born: 30 September 1954 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Along with contemporaries George Duke and George Benson, Patrice Rushen made a major transition from cutting respected acoustic jazz material to hitting the upper reaches of the club and R&B charts. A dynamite keyboardist with a limited but sweet voice, Rushen debuted at the age of 20 on the Prestige label, working with maverick saxophonist Joe Henderson. Within a matter of a few years, legendary club DJ Larry Levan was spinning her carefree but sophisticated post-disco singles released on...
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Pizzazz, Patrice Rushen
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