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Bassist Wayman Tisdale Dies at 44

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By Andrew Lienhard

Smooth jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale lost his two-year battle to cancer early this morning at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was 44.

The celebrated musician was also a well-known NBA Power Forward who played for the Phoenix Suns until his retirement in 1997. In his twelve-year NBA career, Tisdale scored more than 12,800 points and 5,000 rebounds. In 1984 Tisdale won a Olympic Gold Medal playing for the United States Basketball Team. But his off-court career as a jazz bassist was equally impressive. His upper-register bass melodies and strong sense of “pocket" established that his musical talents were not only legitimate, but quite unique. His CD's, eight in total, became staples of Smooth Jazz radio/XM stations. The charismatic performer became a mainstay on the touring and festival circuit too.

Tisdale discovered he had cancer in 2007 after he fell down a flight of stairs in his Oklahoma home and broke his leg. Last year he had part of that leg amputated in an effort to stop the disease from spreading further. He is survived by his wife, four children, and a granddaughter.

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