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Tisdale, Toby Keith remake a classic

By Wayman Tisdale

Rendezvous Entertainment: 2008

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This review first appeared in Turbula in September 2008.

Not since Grover Washington Jr.'s 1980 release, "Winelight," has a mostly instrumental album been so defined by a guest singer as bassist Wayman Tisdale's latest CD is.

Then, it was soul legend Bill Withers' romantic ballad "Just the Two of Us," which tore up the pop and R&B charts, and made the album one of Washington's biggest-sellers. Now, on his latest release, "Rebound," Tisdale lets his buddy, country singer Toby Keith, follow up on his own challenge to handle the unenviable task of tackling Barry White's classic "Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up."

And surprisingly, Keith nails – absolutely nails – the soul classic, imbuing it with sensuality and mature eroticism. Of course, having a band with Tisdale on bass means the all-essential groove is in place. The rest of the album is uniformly solid, as would be expected from Tisdale – who moved as seamlessly from the NBA to the recording studio as he does from the thick funk of Barry White to the contemporary gospel of guest singer Marvin Sapp to 10 other tracks that remind why he's one of the top draws on the smooth jazz circuit. An inspired guest appearance by fellow smooth jazz star Dave Koz would be the highlight on any album that didn't have Keith's remarkable performance on it.