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Bounce by Tom Braxton

Saxophonist Tom Braxton has been a mainstay in bassist Wayman Tisdale’s band for many years. During Tom’s tenure with Wayman, he has recorded five albums and has established himself as one of smooth jazz’s most prolific saxophonists. His latest CD entitled Bounce is a highly stylized display of upbeat funk and augmented by glowing cerebral melodies. With this CD, Tom is making his debut on the Rendezvous Record Label, as he walks smooth jazz aficionados through 12 tracks of ear-catching music. In fact, this newest release continues a patented formula of success that has been finely tuned and homogenized in a genre that is often very competitive.

Tisdale’s influence is huge on Bounce, one that became a partnership of sorts. Wayman either wrote or co-wrote a number of tracks for Braxton and is prominently displayed as a guitarist and bassist throughout this CD. One track entitled "Bermuda Nights" is a superb tune that both Tisdale and Braxton collaborated on, further examination reveals a chemistry that is catalytic and harmonious. Although Wayman is very much a part of this CD, it is Tom Braxton’s creativity that dictates the direction of Bounce. In fact, Braxton provides triple duty on the alto, tenor and soprano saxophone, while weaving a tapestry of sound that is illuminatingly apparent at its best. In addition, there are effective uses of some very dynamic sidemen to help serve up the main course of smooth jazz flavor. Along with Tisdale, Braxton has invited Ken Navarro, Mike Phillips and a host of other notables to make this album gel. Up, down, over, under, around and through, Tom Braxton and his crew carry their listeners on a journey that has some extremely moments.

Bounce has the influences of Grover Washington, Jr., the effervescence of Al Green and a melodic display of smooth grooves. The CD conveys a message of a group of guys coming together for a moment of fun in the studio. Although this recording’s title suggests a constant state of motion, in reality Bounce has other elements above and beyond the obvious. Contained therein are slow moving ballads as well as upbeat rhythmic responses to a soulful groove. One track entitled "Just You, Just Me," is a smooth ensemble that highlight’s Braxton’s double sax duty on soprano and tenor, with Wayman Tisdale’s acoustic guitar providing the texture. On a more upbeat note, the ever-popular cover song entitled "Let’s Stay Together" has been recorded and re-recorded at various times for more than thirty years, yet Braxton’s rendition has an identity of its own. When examining the overall content of Braxton's smooth jazz philosophy, this recording has something inside its core for everyone.

Although Tom Braxton may not be high on the list of smooth jazz radio airplay, his latest release is a jewel of an album. In addition to that highly popularized opinion, Bounce is transitional in approach. In its more engaging moments, there is the exhilaration of a dance track; in the album’s more subtle fabric, there is a quiet connection. When examining the totality of Tom Braxton’s appeal, he has all the required tools to become a major force in the annals of smooth jazz morphology.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tom Braxton
  • CD Title: Bounce
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Rendezvous Entertainment
  • Tracks: No Worries, Word On The Street, Bounce, Bermuda Nights, Just You, Just Me, Forever and A Day, Julian’s Smile, Let’s Stay Together, Reminiscing, By The Fire, Hip Church, Hip Church (Reprise)
  • Musicians: Tom Braxton (flute, alto, soprano and tenor saxophone), Arlington Jones, Leviticus Moore, Eric Willis (keyboards), Ira Bassett (flugelhorn), Mike Phillips (sax sections), Wayman Tisdale (bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jorge Ginorio (percussion), Mark Harper, James Williams, Dron De Shozo (guitars), Michael White (drums), Cassandra Robertson (vocals)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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