Patrice Rushen in Berlin

It’s been a while since her last visit to Berlin and last night’s Gretchen stop was actually the first in the city with her own band. The crowd was eagerly awaiting her performance and there was a huge roar when she finally came on stage last night at around 8:45. Her 7-piece band, including trumpet, sax and flute, a second keyboardist, guitar, bass, and drums, was pretty tight throughout. She started with three heavily funked-up pieces from her extensive catalogue, the first being “Number One” from her groundbreaking album “Straight From The Heart”, which came out in 1982 when most of the people in the audience weren’t even born yet. It was really exciting and wonderful to see so many young and young-ish concert-goers, all of them united in worshipping this one-of-a-kind artist. Patrice continued with “The Hump” from her 1977 LP “Shout It Out” and “Hang It Up” from her 1978 LP “Patrice”. She changed from acoustic to electric piano and her solos were greeted with amazing exultation. So great was the enthusiasm that it seemed she was totally overwhelmed by it.

Patrice Rushen @Gretchen

Slowing down the tempo for just a few minutes, she gracefully and soulfully added “Settle For My Love” into the mix, still one of her most sensuous and beautiful ballads. And she also included several instrumental pieces. After all, she did not start out as a singer. So she played the Brazilian-tinged “Arrival” from her 1997 album “Signature” for example. We were also treated to “Music Of The Earth” and Patrice stepped out in front of the stage to sing one of her signature songs: “Remind Me” had the audience sing along with verve and delight. She also made enough room for her to solo and her chops are still highly entertaining and fancy. There was intense and sweaty body contact throughout the set since there was no air conditioning but we were all on the same boat. Former George Duke and Stanley Clarke drummer Rayford Griffin was given some solo time as well, as were trumpet and sax.

Patrice Rushen @Gretchen
Patrice Rushen last night at Gretchen, performing “Remind Me”.

When she started the dance/club anthem “Haven’t You Heard”, the energy and noise level in the audience was simply almost unheard-of. And when she segued into “Forget Me Nots”, the whole room exploded. The vibe was incredibly intense and if there was only one setback at last night’s show, it’s the fact that the sound wasn’t really in the mix because the drums were too loud and Patrice’s vocals and keys were too quiet. Patrice ended the set after 90 minutes with another funky instrumental piece where she also used a keytar and left us all into the night with a smile on our faces because we just witnessed a true icon of jazz and soul.

07/11 Oestrich-Winkel – Rheingau Musik Festival
07/12 Oldenburg – Kultursommer
07/14 Monaco – La Note Bleue
07/15 Monaco – La Note Bleue
07/16 Paris – New Morning
07/18 London – Ronnie Scott’s
07/19 London – Ronnie Scott’s
07/20 London – Ronnie Scott’s

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