Tuesday, November 3, 2009
TOM BRAXTON COVER STORY FOR SMOOTH JAZZ NEWS!
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By Brian Soergel
Tom Braxton knew he needed to craft a tribute song to his good friend Wayman Tisdale for his seventh solo CD, Endless Highway. Tisdale was battling cancer, but his eternal optimism inspired Braxton and everyone else who knew him––his family, friends and fans. The saxophonist contacted frequent collaborator Jay Rowe, and together they drew the outline of a song. After hearing of the tribute, Tisdale told his good friend that he’d perform on it.
But it wasn’t to be. On May 15, after a courageous two-year battle that saw Tisdale lose a leg to cancer, the smooth jazz bassist and former college and NBA great died unexpectedly. After mourning Tisdale and being caught in a funk for a time, Braxton knew he had to finish the tune and asked Braylon Lacy to perform Tisdale’s bass parts.
“Braylon played in Wayman’s band for a few years,” Braxton said. “A lot of people will think that it’s Wayman when they hear it. When I heard the mix of it for the first time, my wife and I started crying because it sounded so much like Wayman and I playing together.”
The completed song, “That Wayman Smile!” is the centerpiece of Endless Highway, another groove-friendly CD from the smooth jazz saxophonist on the Pacific Coast Jazz record label.
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