WAYMAN TISDALE: Rebound (Label: Rendezvous)

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Wayman Tisdale died tragically in May. He was 44. In his comparatively short life he’d achieved more than most … first a top-flight sports career then a successful move into jazz where his bass-playing earned him an enviable reputation. As a distinctive bassist (he always remembered Marcus Miller’s advice about the importance of those first two notes), Tisdale was always in demand as a session player but, more importantly, he also cut some fine solo albums. ‘Rebound’ is his eighth, and sadly it will be his last, though Wayman who was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer before recording, wanted the album to be a joyous affair – a celebration which could show that optimism can survive and outlive tragedy. By and large, he’s succeeded. ‘Rebound’ is generally an “up” album though it’s back-story gives it an air of genuine poignancy. No more so than on the title cut that opens the proceedings. Tisdale’s own spoken voice suggests that when life tries to get you down you need to rebound; the tune then develops into a big, soulful groove with Dave Koz doing his best to emulate the great David Sanborn. ‘Throwin’ It Down’ and ‘One On One’ are groove-heavy too with the latter having the potential to please the modern soul room dance brigade. Some of that crew have already latched onto the album’s big vocal cut – a version of Barry White’s ‘Never, Never, Gonna Give You Up’. Here the voice belongs to country star Toby Keith and without the Lothario antics of Bazza the cut is surprisingly focused. The Gap Band’s Robert Wilson features on ‘Watch Me Play Again’ – another big groove with a hint of contemporary R&B about it, while the vocoder on ‘Comin’ Home’ offers a different flavour again. And that’s the joy of this album. For a bass-led set, the music is surprisingly varied. We’ve seen already there’s plenty of groove-based material – but Tisdale also includes a great quiet stormer (‘I Hope You Feel It Too’), a couple of catchy, smooth numbers (‘I’ll Do The Driving’ and ‘In Love’), while the set closes with a big gospel set-piece (‘Grateful’) featuring Marvin Sapp on lead. In his basketball playing days, Wayman Tisdale won Olympic Gold as part of the US 1984 “Dream Team”; Jamie Foxx – in a recent interview – named Tisdale as a member of his “Dream Band” (along with Herbie Hancock, Prince and Wynton and Branford Marsalis) … ‘Rebound’ proves that – as a selector – Foxx was spot on… Wyman Tisdale R. I. P.
(BB) 4/5