After recording three jazz-oriented albums for Prestige, Patrice Rushen switched to Elektra and gave herself a major R&B/pop makeover with Patrice. Even the funkiest parts of Shout It Out, the last of Rushen's three Prestige/Fantasy albums, couldn't have prepared listeners for this LP, which finds her taking the commercial plunge and successfully making the transition from jazz instrumentalist to R&B/pop vocalist. As expected, jazz's hardcore audience cried foul: Like Roy Ayers, George Duke, George Benson, and other jazz instrumentalists who took up R&B singing, Rushen was called a sellout and vilified in the jazz media. Patrice was trashed by jazz critics. Instead of hating this album because it isn't jazz, however, they should have judged it by R&B/pop standards. When those standards are applied, it becomes obvious that Patrice is, in fact, a rewarding R&B/pop effort. Patrice demonstrated that she could be an expressive, charming singer, and her writing or co-writing is solid on cuts that range from the funky "Hang It Up" and the lovely ballad "Didn't You Know?" to the socio-political "Changes (In Your Life)." With Patrice, the Los Angeles native made it clear that she was as appealing as an R&B/pop singer as she had been as a jazz pianist/keyboardist. ~ Alex Henderson
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