Patrice Rushen will debut a commissioned jazz piece with a special concert in Detroit. The pianist, composer and bandleader will premiere The Resonate Suite with The Gathering Orchestra Nonet at the Carr Center on Saturday, March 21st at 7:30 PM. The show is the result of the Carr Center’s Gathering Orchestra Residency where Rushen is the 2022 resident. Rushen will spend one week with the center’s orchestra under Rodney Whitaker’s direction. The Resonate Suite is three parts representing three decades and is written for three saxophones, trumpet, trombone, piano, drums, bass and guitar. The piece is the first of a larger group of works to be performed by the nine-piece ensemble.
Rodney Whitaker is the director of The Gathering Residency a two-year fellowship that offers young musicians from 18 to 28 the opportunity to work with professional mentors on standards, new music and original compositions. The fellowship was pared down to nine musicians during the pandemic and this caused the 2021-2022 cohort to be performed virtually.
Rushen’s new piece was commissioned as part of the Resonate multi-year collaboration between Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings and the Carr Center that aims to explore the African diaspora through the lens of American chamber music. She is among seven composers to creates works that will be performed with collaborators that include Bowling Green University, Western Michigan University, the Carr Center, Oberlin Conservatory, Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan/An Arbor. The Resonate Project will have a 2023 symposium hosted by the Carr Center and chaired by Rushen.
The residency is among Rushen’s several accomplishments over a five-decade career. Her 1982 single “Forget Me Nots” had a second life after it was featured in the blockbuster 1997 film Men In Black. A career that was based in jazz in the ’70s moved into a successful R&B period in the ’80s. She is the first woman musical director of The Grammys , the NAACP Image Awards, the People’s Choice Awards and HBO’s Comic Relief V. She was the music director for Janet Jackson’s Janet world tour. Her seventh album Straight From The Heart continues to inspire artists and Richmond, Virginia collective Butcher Brown covered her “Remind Me” with Alex Isley in 2021.
Tickets for the show can be purchased at thecarrcenter.org and there is the option to register for viewing the live stream of the concert.