Saxophonist Tom Braxton is a versatile instrumentalist, a charismatic performer, and a gifted composer whose distinct, melodic sound thrills audiences of all ages and leaves them wanting more. His crisp, lyrical melodies and tantalizing grooves blend elements of jazz, Latin, funk, and R&B to create a sound that is innovative and appealing. After one of his electrifying concerts, you’ll still be humming the melodies and snapping your fingers all the way to the parking lot.
Braxton’s latest album, Imagine This, is a rich collection of songs designed to celebrate the joys of life and encourage people to dream again. “The title of the CD has a lot of personal meaning to me. It is a positive statement that all things are possible and dreams can and really do come true. Through this music, I want to inspire the listener to look beyond the ordinary and aim for the extraordinary.” From the first track, “Peg,” to the final notes of “Revelation Song,” Tom serves as a “pied piper” using his pure, sweet sound to lead you on a unique musical journey that you’ll never forget!
“The album kicks off with one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands. ‘Peg,’ by Steely Dan, is a great tune that I’ve wanted to cover for years.” Braxton produced and arranged this classic with an energetic shuffle that compliments his performance on soprano and tenor saxophones. He adds the finishing touches with colorful keyboards and the unique vocal stylings of Kevin Whalum.
Next, pack your bags and leave all your cares behind with the lively tune, “Escape,” featuring Brian Simpson on piano. “My good friend, Joe Ninowski, wrote this tune with me in mind. When I heard it, I immediately thought of asking Brian to add his special touch to this track.” The romantic ballad, “Imagine This,” gives Tom an opportunity to harmonize with pal Kirk Whalum in an unplugged vibe supported by acoustic guitars. You can almost see the waves and feel the sand between your toes as Braxton’s soprano sax lures you to Hawaii in the bossa nova, “Kaanapali Beach.” You can’t resist tapping your foot to the pulsating, funky beat of “Good to Go.” The Patrice Rushen tune, “Haven’t You Heard?” will have you dancing in the aisles. The musical journey continues with “Evening Drive,” featuring guitarist Tim Bowman . . . a soothing change of pace that’s perfect for a scenic ride with the one you love. Let your imagination soar as you relax and unwind to “Downtime” and “1 a.m.” At the end of a long, hard day, enjoy the peace and serenity of “Rest Assured” and “Revelation Song.”
“I had a wonderful time working on this project. We had some magical moments in the studio. One of my definite ‘highs’ was having the opportunity to work with an awesome horn section. Although wearing the multiple hats of producer, arranger, composer, and performer was challenging at times, the experience was extremely rewarding and fulfilling.” This album features six of Braxton’s compositions and showcases his exceptional skill on soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones as well as keyboards and flute.
About the Artist
Jazz doesn’t always come easy growing up in the dusty plains of West Texas, but that’s where it all began for Tom Braxton. Lubbock, Texas is an unlikely environment for a boy to dream of being a jazz musician. Fortunately, Tom had a direct link to this creative art form.
“I have to credit my dad with connecting me to jazz at an early age. He would say, ‘Come here. I want you to hear something. This is Lester Young . . . they called him Prez. This is Miles, Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Stitt, Getz, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and many more!’ He would share how he had heard Count Basie and Duke’s original bands and the great Ella Fitzgerald. He put the alto sax in my hands in the 6th grade, after I had been playing piano for two years. At the age of 87, he still plays his tenor sax and violin everyday, and he’s still gigging!”
After graduating valedictorian from high school, Tom attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas on track and music scholarships. “I love to run, and the 200, 400, and 1600-meter relay were my events.” During his college years, Braxton formed the jazz fusion band “No Compromise” which toured the southwest and opened concerts for Joe Sample, Stanley Clarke, George Howard, and many others. The band performed many of Tom’s original compositions which helped to fine-tune his writing style.
As his college years came to a close, the band fizzled out and Tom launched a solo career. His first act of business was to join forces with keyboardist and producer Bernard Wright to release his solo debut, Your Move. “The highlight of my first release was having the opportunity to record a duet with long-time friend Kirk Whalum on the song “Peacemaker.” Bernard Wright not only produced Braxton’s first CD, but was instrumental in connecting him to a gifted musician/producer who would elevate Tom to the national touring circuit. “I have to credit Bernard Wright with getting me the gig with Wayman Tisdale. ‘Nard was in Sacramento working with Wayman on some projects. Tisdale told ‘Nard that he was starting a band and my name came up. I flew to Sacramento and played with Wayman at the Red Lion Hotel where we opened a concert for the Yellowjackets. I’ll never forget it . . . it was 1992!! Except for a few years off during the births of my sons, I’ve been playing with Wayman ever since.”
Braxton’s second album, Katallasso, mixed memorable, lite-funk melodies with some unique production touches. In April 1998, the CD was released nationally on Positive Music Records and featured the talents of Kirk Whalum, Paul Jackson Jr., Bill Maxwell, and Bill Cantos. For Tom’s third album, he took a brief departure from mainstream smooth jazz and in 1999 released an instrumental praise and worship CD entitled Face to Face. Two years later, he followed it up with the release of Comfort and Joy, a Christmas album that presented Braxton’s fresh arrangements of traditional and contemporary holiday favorites. His fifth release, Bounce, was produced by Wayman Tisdale for Dave Koz’s label, Rendezvous Entertainment. “Wayman approached me with the idea of doing a project together,” recalls Braxton. “I was very excited and the creative juices began to flow. We had a lot of fun in the studio playing with grooves and melodies and the CD, Bounce, was born.”
Tom has shared the stage with many well-known artists including Luther Vandross, Phillip Bailey, Kirk Whalum, Jonathan Butler, Dave Koz, George Duke, Jeff Golub, Marcus Miller, and Paul Brown. Tom has opened concerts for numerous jazz greats including Dave Brubeck, Cab Calloway, Spyro Gyra, Najee, The Rippingtons, David Benoit, Norman Brown, Pieces of a Dream, Boney James, Michael Franks, and The Crusaders.
Over the years, Braxton has been featured in several publications including JAZZIZ, Smooth Jazz News, and the international Italian music magazine, New Sounds. He has also appeared on CBS’s The Saturday Early Show, B.E.T.’s Jazz Central, TBS, TNT, ESPN, CNN, NBC’s Inside Stuff, Positively Texas, ABC's Good Morning Texas, and the Fox Network’s Good Day Dallas.
Seasoned with experience and gifted with a fresh sound that has widespread appeal, Tom Braxton is destined to be a key player in the music industry in the 21st century