Saturday, July 19, 2008

Last Chance to Catch Rahsaan Patterson at Yoshi's

Rahsaan, my heart is beating repetitiously for you.

By Rachel Swan
Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 9:08 PM

Not only is Rahsaan Patterson the undisputed champion of the crazy-ass R&B bridge, the funky breakdown, and the Michael Jackson wail (Yes, yes, that hee-hee), he's also a consummate bandleader with an amazing band. Bassist Eric Smith (famous both for being Rihanna's music director, and for holding court in Oakland blues-rock band Legally Blynd), backup singer Trina Broussard, and keyboardist Kenneth Crouch are all stars in their own right. Their Thursday night show at San Francisco Yoshi's (kicking off a run that ends Sunday) opened with Patterson's "Oh Lord: Take Me Back," a Sly Stone-ish number with prominent organ and Gospel harmonies. With the combination of two sensitive background singers, a four-man rhythm section comprising some of the best instrumentalists in the R&B circuit, and Patterson's theatrics (His breakdowns included lines like, "My heart is beating repetitiously for you" (from a lyric in "The One for Me"), "I have a tendency to get lost and lengthy" and even the obvious: "As you can see, I like to break it down."), this group had all the wallop of an A-list rock band.

The group played cuts from Patterson's entire oeuvre — dating back to 1997 — including last year's "Feels Good," in an arrangement similar to the album version, except the chorus harmonies sounded a little more textured. Patterson also did a fierce cover of Sade's "Love Is Stronger Than Pride." The highlights, above all, were Crouch's two organ solos — he played a real Hammond B3 and used the spaces between notes in much the same way as famed pianist Ahmad Jamal — and Patterson's stage presence. Not only is he a singer of incredible depth and range, he's also an animated balladeer. Whilst singing, Patterson would pantomime the guitar parts, raise his head to the ceiling, issue commands to his back-up ("Take it to a whisper, please") and even look askance — and the askance look is hard to pull off while your singing into a microphone. But overall, he was killing; my only criticism was that the band needed a little more bottom (Smith might have had a cramp that night, because you could see him rubbing his wrist between songs) and that Broussard could have been in the spotlight a little more. But man, that gig was well worth the price of admission. Tonight's show is most likely sold out, but you might still snag a ticket for Sunday. Yoshis.com

Rahsaan Patterson's music video for "Feels Good":

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