Nelson Braxton
Model(s) Used: SRX
Band: The Braxton Brothers, Michael Bolton
Ibanez: Since you perform and write with your brother, I imagine you've been playing since you were very young. How long have you been a musician?
Nelson: Oh wow.....since the age of nine. We started in elementary school. You know those little plastic instruments? Recorders? That's what we used to play in like 4th grade. I guess we started from there and went though school music programs. I'm a product of school music, back when they still had (music programs).

Ibanez: Did you start out with jazz or was it classical?
Nelson: Mainly classical. In the town I grew up in, Fairfield, when you played music in school, it was always "wind band" music - band interpretations of classical pieces, with tubas, trombones, clarinets, saxophones and percussion sections. There weren't really string sections, so I was actually a wind player. Clarinet was my first real instrument.Then I moved to bass clarinet, saxophone and trombone, and finally ended up being a tuba player. That's actually what I was studying in college, Tuba Performance. I was going to be a symphony tuba player.It was around the time when I was 15 or so, that I picked up the bass.They were starting a jazz band at my high school and since I wasn't really playing saxophone anymore, I asked the band director, "What instrument do you need?" I knew they didn't need a tuba player.He told me they needed a bass player, so my dad bought me a bass,and I learned to play that summer. That's how I started playing bass.It was mostly jazz and pop interpretations of "Ride like the Wind," and stuff like that.

Ibanez: That's when you fell in love with the bass?
Nelson: Yeah,I was doing it mainly for fun. I used to record little songs on my 4-track with my brother and some friends of mine from high school.We started doing little gigs in the summer, playing anything from jazz tunes to what was pop jazz back then, like Grover Washington.We even did some Chick Corea Electric Band tunes -that's what I was really into in high school.

Ibanez: Did your parents have a big influence on you? Were they musicians?
Nelson: My dad was a DJ. He was one of the first guys in our area with a mobile DJ setup, playing functions and that sort of thing. He's always loved music, ever since he was a kid. He had an extensive record collection.We'd wake up on Saturday morning and there's no telling what he'd be playing. He could be playing Al Green or Don Ho, or country music...he loved everything. It was really natural for us kids to pick up on that excitement for music. In a way, we were trained as musicians before we even knew anything about it.

Ibanez: What's your favorite kind of music to play?
Nelson: I like playing music that has a...sensibility of a jazz musician. Put it this way, I like playing with musical people - it doesn't really matter what we're doing. I used to play a lot of Latin music and I did that pretty much exclusively for a few years which was great. I was in a couple of flamenco bands that I had a wonderful time with. In the last 8 or 9 years, I've been playing a lot of R&B, like improvisational R&B and Soul music. In addition to the Braxton Brothers, I've been touring with a Tommy Boy artist named Ledisi for the last few years. That's given me a lot of experience in that realm. We do shows with her, and with artists like Raphael Saadiq, as well as opening for D'Angelo. I enjoy that a lot. I like playing with a big sound; I like playing the bottom more than anything else. That's the most fun for me.

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