Faces the Band and the Late Wayman Tisdal

I decided to forego my usual MLK commemorative activities this year and instead spent a night of jazz with a "king" in his own right, Mr. Wayman Tisdale. The beautiful Bass Performance Hall was the venue for the event, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and benefiting the National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame.

Presented by Texas Bank and hosted by radio personality Lynn Briggs of 107.5 FM The Oasis, the show kicked off with an energetic performance by the baddest band on the planet (yes, I’m a little biased), Fort Worth’s own "Faces." Performing such signature favorites as Johnny Gill’s "My, My, My," Janet Jackson’s "I Get So Lonely," and Luther Vandross’ "So Amazing," saxophonists Dewayne Washington, Ahmad Johnson and Marcus Rockwell (trumpeter) put on their usual "amazing" performance and got the crowd involved with their signature antics and something new -- a Samba number, complete with professional Samba dancers and all! The group, which is currently in the studio, anticipates the release of its new CD, along with the production of a gospel play -- both in May of this year.

While I had heard his music before, I had never seen saxophonist/flutist Joseph Vincelli perform. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed! A native of New Jersey, Vincelli is a self-proclaimed Texan and currently resides right here in the Metroplex. Performing hits from his latest CD, "This Life," Vincelli added his own personal flare by descending from the stage into the audience during his memorable performance of "Let’s Stay Together." Other hits Vincelli performed included "The Arrival," "Always Ready," and "Night Beat." And in a tribute to Fort Worth, Vincelli performed a song he affectionately named "Stop Six," bringing the house down in a crescendo of handclaps and finger snaps.

Only one word comes to mind to describe the performance by pianist and vocalist, Joe McBride and his band – WOW!!! This was my first time seeing and hearing McBride perform and I honestly can’t believe I waited so long to witness his raw talent! With a slight resemblance to Ray Charles and a vocal sound like Al Jarreau, McBride re-energized the crowd with hits from his CD, "Keepin’ It Real." Hailing from St. Louis, McBride finished his musical studies at Denton’s University of North Texas, and now makes Dallas his home. He says about his music, "We’re special because we’re not really West Coast or East Coast, but we can only be described ad the third coast…. The jazz here is influenced by the blues in Chicago which isn’t that far, as well as the rich zydeco heritage of New Orleans…."

Last, but most definitely not least, Mr. Wayman Tisdale took to the stage. Who, but Mr. Tisdale himself, could make tunes from television shows like The Brady Bunch and Sanford and Son, sound good? Proof positive of Tisdale’s phenomenal musical and vocal talent – I still can’t get the "shubee dubee doo doo doo" out of my head! Tisdale, who spent 12 years of his life as a professional basketball player, landed on the music scene in the 1990’s with his debut album "Power Forward." Since then, the bass player has been delighting audiences with his distinctive sound and look. In addition to his performance of a medley including The S.O.S. Band’s "Tell Me If You Still Care," and "Yearning For Your Love," (The Gap Band), Tisdale performed an energetic piece called "Brazilia," along with a touching musical tribute to his daughter, entitled "Gabrielle" – both from his latest "Face to Face" album. And in a beautiful spiritual finale to close the evening, Tisdale performed the title track to the album (Face to Face) with his daughter Danielle, who he proudly announced attends The University of Oklahoma (his alma mater). Gospel sensation, Cassandra Robertson, also lent her vocal talents to the song. Tisdale’s latest album and first gospel production, "21 Days" is set to be released in April or May.

Event organizers, including "Stop Six’s" own Rick Rigsby of Rigsby Entertainment, plan to make the Evening of Jazz event an annual one, in an effort to commemorate the birth, life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So if you didn’t attend this year, you definitely won’t want to miss next year’s stellar event! Corporate sponsors of the event included Texas Bank, the National Cowboy of Color Museum and Hall of Fame, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital, Coca-Cola, Fort Worth Business Press and the Renaissance Cultural Center.

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