Many people know and admire Tom Braxton as Wayman Tisdale's saxman of many years. With Bounce, his 5th solo release and debut on the Rendezvous label, Braxton ably steps into the spotlight again with twelve upbeat, celebratory tracks.
There is a big Tisdale influence on the album. Tisdale wrote many of the tracks including “Bermuda Nights” which he co-wrote with Braxton, and he's featured on guitar and bass throughout the CD. But this is first, and foremost, a sax CD that kicks off with the appropriately named, upbeat, feel-good track, “No Worries.” Next up is “Word On The Street,” a track written by Ken Navarro and Jay Rowe, featuring Braxton on alto and tenor sax and Arlington Jones on keys.
One of the highlights of the album is the title track. This very life-affirming piece written by Eric Willis, is very reminiscent of the late Grover Washington, Jr. Following that is the laid-back tropical sounds of “Bermuda Nights,” featuring Braxton on the soprano sax and Jorge Ginorio on percussion.
“Just You, Just Me” is a sweet musical dance between Braxton's soprano sax and Tisdale's gentle acoustic guitar highlighted by Braxton's doubling on tenor sax. And keeping the same mood is “Forever And A Day” featuring Cassandra Robertson on vocals and Braxton's very soulful tenor sax. “Julian's Smile,” inspired by Braxton's young son is a slightly funky, upbeat R&B groove that brings to mind a picture of a spirited, happy little boy.
Braxton's soulful, uplifting cover of Al Green's “Let's Stay Together” gives us a great “blast from the past.” Following up on that theme is the Tisdale tune, “Reminiscing,” another very soulful track with some awesome alto sax work! “By The Fire” keeps that same groove rolling. Mike Phillips steps in to lay down the sax sections for this one.
Taking the album home is the wonderful, fun, uplifting “Hip Church.” It really doesn't get much better than this. Maybe that's why they followed it up with “Hip Church (Reprise)”! Hey, it's worth hearing more than once! Trust me!
There is a definition of the word “bounce” and a great note from Tom in the liner notes:
“boun(t)s: to leap suddenly; to walk with springing steps; to recover from a blow quickly.”
“Listener: This music is designed to help you bounce! You may be leaping forward suddenly because God has prospered and promoted you; you may be walking with springing steps because of the joy in your life; or you may be recovering from a blow that feels like a setback…The good new is – “it ain't over – God will be there to help you bounce!”
- Elizabeth Ware