Thursday, September 8, 2016

Patrice Rushen-Anything But Ordinary (1994)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 8, 2016

Always expect the totally un-ordinary here at "The Music Spectrum"! Although I wouldn't say that Patrice Rushen is un-ordinary; she's extraordinary! The un-ordinary, then, is me being in possession of this rarity from her discography, which was recently gifted to me by a fellow music lover—that, and the fact that, before today, I had never in my life heard anything by her beyond the 70's and 80's, when she was cranking out such memorable hits as "Breakout", "I Was Tired Of Being Alone" and, perhaps her most recognized hit, "Sending Me Forget-Me-Nots". Interestingly, the latter of the three—which, of course, went on to serve as the template for Will Smith's "Men In Black" song recorded for the movie by the same title—gets sampled by Patrice herself on the opening jam, "I Do", which reunited me with that familiar delightful voice of hers that always soothes my soul. Besides the memorable words of 'sending me forget-me-nots, to help you to remember', there's some seriously sizzling jazzing up happening on this one with the instrumental saxophone contributions—a theme that would become recurring as I progressed further along in this extraordinary soul adventure. "Tell Me", the album's first slow jam, immediately took me back to that fond mid-90's soul/r&b era that I remember so well; it was a very good time for this kind of music. Though it's the second slow jam that I ended up favoring more: "My Heart, Your Heart". It's that quiet storm radio glow about this one that simply melts me all over—so fluid and so romantic. And ahhhh, this one gets the sweet jazzing up treatment with the saxophone midway through, too. Love it when the collective background singers voice the soul-shaking words of ' my heart to your heart, that's when the loving starts and 'and 'love brings us together; never fall apart'. Now here's one that I found totally un-ordinary: "Whatcha Gonna Do?". It's a deliciously hip side of Patrice that I've never heard before on this funktafied upbeat street jam where she's got some meaningful words for us to live by. I like her calming tell-it-like-it-is rap approach to delivering her short sermon about world peace and how it starts right at home with the way we are living—Amen to that! Love the dazzling piano accompaniment to the music, which competes neck and neck with the saxophonist here as the best instrumental pieces on this album. For as much a jam that both "I Do" and "Whatcha Gonna Do?" are, both are trumped by the SUPER jam that is the title track at this album's halfway mark. ' I don't want ordinary '—as in ordinary loving from her man—the words go on this bombastically jazzy, funk extravaganza. The same old thing just won't do for her, and she makes that point bold, loud and clear! "State Of Mind" brings back to mind some of the peace-for-the-people message preached back on "Whatcha Gonna Do?", this time with an invited guest male MC busting out with the rhymes and raps while her mind is in a romantic state altogether on the catchy "I Only Think Of You" and the concluding cut, "Be With You", which is a simple way to end this extraordinary soul exposition by one of the more forgotten voices in the world of old-school music:

1. I Do
2. Tell Me
3. Whatcha Gonna Do?
4. I Only Think Of You
5. My Heart, Your Heart
6. Anything But Ordinary
7. Top Of The Line
8. State Of Mind
9. Caravan
10. Be With You

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