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Patti Austin

She crosses all musical genres, has made 17 solo albums, and has performed her award-nominated hit songs on the GRAMMYS and the Oscars. As a performer, songwriter and vocalist she has had a star-studded career that began at the age of four, making her one of the most beloved artists the world over and a mainstay on the Billboard Jazz Albums charts. Charlie Rose calls her "the most underappreciated voice in music today." She is Patti Austin, whose extraordinary career continues to cross over boundaries and reach new heights. Now Rendezvous Entertainment presents Austin’s Avant-Gershwin, a new and adventurous big band rendering of George Gershwin songs that celebrate the Gershwin jazz connection.

As with 2002's GRAMMY-nominated homage to Ella Fitzgerald For Ella, Patti worked her magic again with the WDR Big Band on Avant-Gershwin. A new high water mark for Patti, Avant-Gershwin finds her re-imagining George Gershwin's complex and fascinating body of work. "You can judge a brilliant piece of music by how you can bend and stretch it," said Austin. "I always believed George Gershwin to be avant-garde so I wanted to challenge myself and rework everything melodically and lyrically." She created unique and personal interpretations with arranger Michael Abene (Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, B.B. King), aiming for an operatic but contemporary feeling. Quincy Jones has already said of the album " ‘Avant-Gershwin’ is a Triumph. Listen Up!" The ambitious "Overture/Gershwin Medley" leads off the album with a rousing fanfare, bridging together several Gershwin classics and immediately riveting the listener. For "Porgy & Bess," Austin leaves behind some of the misogynistic messages and portrays a strong female role. She creates "Swanee" in the image of a jazz song, with a hard shuffle. Austin also replaces the conspicuously racist word "mammy" with the word "momma." The singer follows Ella Fitzgerald's lead on "Lady Be Good," making it a rollicking, up-tempo ride. The resulting album is a work that goes beyond the "American Songbook," into Austin's bold and profound vision. The album is also the first since her remarkable physical transformation. She doesn't hide the fact that she had gastric bypass surgery after years of being overweight and suffering from diabetes and other health issues. Realizing how her choices impacted her health, she made a commitment to educate others. "That surgery saved my life," said Austin.

She currently serves as the spokesperson for the American Heart Association's (AHA) "Power To End Stroke" campaign, helping educate her fans about the importance of their dietary choices and the risks of stroke, which threatened her life and ultimately felled her friend, music legend Luther Vandross, and her mother. Patti’s label recently partnered the release of the album Forever, For Always, For Luther Volume II with the "Power to End Stroke" campaign and Austin’s version of "So Amazing" is currently climbing up the Smooth Jazz Charts. Patti has also devoted a lot of time performing for AIDS-related organizations and has appeared in several major benefit concerts in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Austin, the daughter of jazz trombonist Gordon Austin and goddaughter of musical legends Jones and Dinah Washington, made her stage debut with Washington at the world-famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. During the 70s she was the undisputed "queen" of the New York session scene; her voice was heard behind everyone from Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, James Brown and Joe Cocker to Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross and Diana Ross and on countless memorable commercial jingles.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Sound Advice

Shanachie Records
2011

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Intimate Patti Austin

Canyon International
2007

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Avant Gershwin

Canyon International
2007

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End Of A Rainbow

Canyon International
2006

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Love Collection

Canyon International
2005

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Videos

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