Braxton Brothers – Both Sides
(Peak – 2002)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.
The Braxton Brothers have been playing together (Nelson on bass and Wayne on saxophone) since they joined the school band in the fourth grade. Both Sides, their third CD, shows growth and maturation as musicians. Their blend of smooth-jazz and R&B groove is typical of some of the younger jazz musicians out there today, and it’s a nice change from your ‘regular’ smooth fare. Influences of Stanley Clark’s bass and Grover’s horn are immediately evident on tracks like the funky UAC targeted Stop Sayin’ That and the very upbeat Do What You Feel. Smooth-jazz regular Chris Camozzi adds his frets to the Hip-Hop ballad What Did I Say and the driving Whenever I See You.
All of the tracks on the CD were written or co-written by a Braxton, and all are full and complete… no throwaways on this disc. Some of the musc here can be classified as ‘neo-soul’ more than smooth-jazz, but the line blurs so much that as long as it sounds good the name doesn’t matter. And it does indeed sound good. Other Braxton Brothers releases include Steppin’ Out (1996) and Now and Forever (1999.) I have both in my own library, but this is definitely their best effort to date.