When NBA legend-turned-acclaimed jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale decided to leave basketball in 1997, it wasn’t a sacrifice, nor was it labored; it was a blessing. “I’ve always been inspired to make music my ministry,” he said. “After 12 years, it was simply time for me to go.” In Tisdale’s own estimation, he merely left his career to live his dream.
During Tisdale’s illustrious basketball career – during which he played on the 1984 USA Gold Medal Olympics team, became the first University of Oklahoma basketball player to have his number retired and appeared in 22 NBA playoff games – the lifelong musician showcased his melodic bass style on two chart-topping jazz albums, Power Forward and In the Zone. Tisdale has continued his growth as a musician since retiring from the NBA, releasing two additional albums and returning to his gospel roots as musical director of Friendship Church in Tulsa – a move that inspired his forthcoming album 21 Days. In the studio and on stage, the prolific, multi-talented Tisdale chooses Crest Audio gear for mixing and powering both his music and his message.
“When I’m playing in church, I want to have my system operating in excellence, just like when I’m out on tour,” he said. “That is where Crest comes in.” Tisdale uses the X-Eight(TM) professional front-of-house console to mix his church band, which at various times consists of bass, drums, guitar, organ, keyboard and vocals. “The X-Eight is so versatile, I can accommodate anyone who wants to come on stage without worrying about the sound quality or infrastructure.”
The Crest X-Eight console features four-band EQ with sweepable mids and high-pass filters on each input, a microprocessor-based muting system, multiple outputs and eight auxiliary mixes. It’s also manufactured to be resistant to RF interference and boasts a very low noise floor, taking the noise and hiss typical of other consoles out of the equation. “No one understood the difference between Crest and other manufacturers until they heard it themselves,” he said. “It sounds like I’m mixing a CD back there!”
On 21 Days, Tisdale also began using the Crest CA(TM) 9 power amplifier in his bass rig. “I’ve always been a believer in ‘more power equals more clarity,’ and I’ve always admired Crest’s amplifiers and consoles. As soon as I got the CA 9 in my rig, I was able to get this ultra clean top end. I took a completely different approach on the new album – more melody and more ‘sweet’ notes, but still edgy – and the CA 9 gives me room for more of the punch I need, with twice the power of most bass amps.”
Tisdale has managed to combine his secular interests with his ministry on 21 Days, the Stanley Clarke-influenced bassist’s first gospel album, which he recorded himself in three short weeks. “I try to keep my music pure at all times,” he said. “Even if I’m doing jazz music, I’m just trying to keep it moving forward. I write from the heart – it’s not a compromise.”
The newly christened music minister isn’t giving up his passion for jazz, though. “You gotta have variety,” he offered. “But my church gig is a lot of fun. It’s just intense. I’m becoming more versatile; I want to be an artist, but I feel that my strengths are much more than that.”
In summer 2003, Tisdale will embark on a tour of non-secular venues with a gospel group in support of 21 Days, and will continue writing, producing and recording music for artists including Mike Phillips and Keith Young, as well as his own projects.