Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band | Conspiracy

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Conspiracy

by Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band

Jazzy funk by a killer group of cats playing original music brilliantly arranged by The Amazing Wally Minko with gigantic helpings of good taste & good fun and topped off with delicious melodies and harmonies.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz-Funk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Mister Magoo
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
4:32 $0.99
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2. Goofin’ Off
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
7:19 $0.99
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3. Clip Clop Mogul
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
7:20 $0.99
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4. Blessed Are the Hip
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
7:05 $0.99
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5. Adrenaline Rush
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
5:32 $0.99
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6. Brother Kenya’s Paradigm
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
5:31 $0.99
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7. Secret Things
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
7:32 $0.99
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8. Conspiracy
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
4:26 $0.99
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9. Nude Eel
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
8:12 $0.99
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10. Eenie Meanie Beanie Weeny
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
6:38 $0.99
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11. Blues for Bobby
Rich Willey & Boptism Funk Band
5:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
PERSONNEL:
Dan Fornero — Trumpet, Flugelhorn
John Swana — Valve Trombone, EVI (electronic valve instrument
Tom Evans — Flute, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bari Sax
David Mann — Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax
Rich Willey — Bass Trumpet, Trumpet
Dave Stryker — Guitar (and that’s when the trouble started)
Wally Minko — Fender Rhodes, Synthesizer
Bobby Floyd — Hammond B3 Organ, Grand Piano
Mike Boone — 5-String Electric Bass
Byron Landham — Drums

1. Mister Magoo (trumpet: Rich Willey — tenor sax: David Mann — drums: Byron Landham) 4:32
2. Goofin’ Off (guitar: Dave Stryker — EVI: John Swana) 7:19
3. Clip Clop Mogul (organ: Bobby Floyd — bass trumpet: Rich Willey) 7:17
4. Blessed Are The Hip (EVI: John Swana — guitar: Dave Stryker — harmon muted trumpet: Rich Willey) 7:05
5. Adrenaline Rush (EVI: John Swana — organ: Bobby Floyd — guitar: Dave Stryker) 5:30
6. Brother Kenya’s Paradigm (tenor sax: David Mann — bass trumpet: Rich Willey — drums: Byron Landham) 5:31
7. Secret Things (soprano sax: David Mann — bass trumpet & harmon muted trumpet: Rich Willey) 7:32
8. Conspiracy (bass trumpet: Rich Willey — EVI: John Swana) 4:25
9. Nude Eel (guitar: Dave Stryker — EVI: John Swana — organ: Bobby Floyd — bass trumpet: Rich Willey) 8:12
10. Eenie Meanie Beanie Weeny (bass trumpet/valve trombone exchanges: Rich Willey and John Swana
— organ: Bobby Floyd — guitar: Dave Stryker — tenor sax: David Mann — vocal: Rich Willey) 6:38
11. Blues For Bobby (organ: Bobby Floyd — bass trumpet: Rich Willey — guitar: Dave Stryker) 5:11

This recording was produced and directed by The Amazing Wally Minko
Executive Producer: Dan Fornero
All selections written by Rich Willey, © & p Boptism Music Company 2019, BMI
All arrangements by The Amazing Wally Minko
Jason Richmond engineered the recording and mixing sessions
Recorded April 6–8, 2019 at Manifold Recording, Pittsboro, NC, assisted by Ian Schreier
Mastering by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, CA
Spencer Guerra is the Pro Tools Wizard!
Cover Photograph by Jason Richmond
CD cover and DigiPak design by Vadim Reko (Shulyak Vadym Aleksandrovich)
Pronunciation clarification: “Willey” rhymes with “Billy” (notice there are two “l’s” in Willey)

Special thanks to my Heavenly Father from whom all blessings flow, my late parents, my sweet, darling wife Janet (the love of my life), my sisters Lou and Anne, my aunt Addie Lou, and to Fred and Yvonne Williams. Thanks also to Chris Battistone and Kenny Shanker. This album is dedicated to the loving memory of Leonard and Carolyn Willey, Richard M. Gilchrist, my brother John Willey and Frederick Douglas Williams Jr.

HAVE YOU ever had an idea, and once you set it into motion it grew and morphed and expanded into something you could have never foreseen? Something bigger than anything you could have ever envisioned or planned?
That’s precisely what happened with this CD.
I decided to go to Jamey Aebersold’s “farewell” Summer Jazz Camp in 2018. He’d had some health problems and proclaimed that this would be his last one, then a few months before the camp he had surgery and by the time summer camp rolled around he felt better than ever and proclaimed that it was not his last one.
Anyway, while at this camp I met and was reacquainted with many great musicians, among them Bobby Floyd, Dave Stryker, Scott Wendholt, Lynn Seaton, Jim Snidero and many others.
Hearing Bobby Floyd on the Hammond B3 at the lunch hour faculty jams was a breath of fresh air that I had been needing since about 1984 when I moved away from Philadelphia. Bobby took me right back to those Philly sessions I used to do with organists Trudy Pitts, Herbie Nix, Don Patterson and Bruce Mills. Bobby’s playing was like a vaccine that I had needed for decades and when I listened to him I felt like my soul was being healed and I was being shown a “sign.”
So I talked to Bobby and told him I had written a bunch of funk tunes and would like to do a recording session with him on B3 and he said “Sure,” and I got his contact info.
The last night of camp I went with Pat Harbison and sat in with Dave Stryker’s group there in Louisville, KY. I had known of Dave since the 1990’s when I was helping Leslie Peacock do CD covers for Ken Records, and she told me again and again that I needed to seek out and play with Dave, but alas, that opportunity never came to pass in those days. But that Friday night in Louisville I got Dave’s contact info and told him I was thinking about doing a recording with Bobby Floyd and Dave said to let him know.
Back in North Carolina with so much going through my head, working on the fast approaching Los Angeles Boptism Big Band project, I knew that I had to follow through on this idea with Bobby and Dave. So I started making phone calls to find a recording studio with a killer Hammond B3 on the premises. There was one studio close by, but by then I had learned that Dave’s window of opportunity in March or April of 2019 was small and the local studio was already booked.
So I searched and found Manifold Recording Studio in Pittsboro, NC. While visiting Greensboro, NC (for a lesson with the great Chris Gekker) I went out to Manifold and had a look around. Ian was gracious and took the time to show me way more than I needed to see, and I saw that the Hammond B3 organ they have is an amazing instrument. Somehow it has survived since 1964 in remarkably good condition, both cosmetically and functionally. I knew I had found the place.
My mock-ups of these funk tunes had included synthesizer sounds doubling the melody and I thought about my old friend John Swana who has been playing EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument) since the mid-80s. I called John and he said “Yes!” he could do the dates. I asked him for help filling out the rhythm section. My old buddy Chris Battistone had suggested Byron Landham, and I got Byron’s number from John who thought that was a good idea, and Byron also said “Yes.”
I then asked Byron who he would like to play bass and he mentioned three or four names but he mentioned Mike Boone who John Swana had also mentioned. I looked up Mike on the internet and loved what I heard and asked him to be on the session and he was down with it.
So the original idea was to have me on trumpet, John Swana on EVI (and maybe some trumpet), Dave Stryker on guitar, Bobby Floyd on Hammond B3, Mike Boone on bass and Byron Landham on drums. We were going to play my tunes in unison and nearly all of the tunes I had written had intricate soli sections that I hoped we would be able to play to break up the solo sections.
Fast forward to November of 2018 when I was in frequent contact with Dan Fornero regarding the upcoming big band recording. I mentioned this funk band session to Dan and he said he’d like to play trumpet but that he couldn’t think beyond the big band recording at that point so I was to get back to him later. During the mixing dates in January Dan and I talked a little about this funk session and he mentioned getting our mutual friend Wally Minko to write arrangements.
Soon thereafter, I was talking to Wally on the phone and he mentioned that he would love to do some arrangements of my tunes for a smaller ensemble, maybe an eight- or nine-piece group. I told him that I had this date lined up and would he like to do that on such short notice, and being the hard worker that he is, he said he would do it.
Everything was in place. Jason Richmond was to engineer the session. In the meantime I’d seen how well Spencer Guerra worked with Tommy Vicari and asked Spencer if he’d like to come to NC to be our Pro Tools guy. After checking his availability he agreed to do it. I hoped that Spencer and Jason would work well together, and sure enough they quickly became a well-oiled machine.
The tunes on this CD include a few that I wrote leading up to the formation of my short-lived Asheville band Funkload. Mister Magoo, Conspiracy, Clip Clop Mogul, Secret Things, Brother Kenya’s Paradigm and Nude Eel were from that period. Eenie Meanie Beanie Weeny was actually the first funk tune I wrote back in 2014, I’m thinking, a year or so before I had the idea to start a funk band.
Goofin’ Off, Adrenaline Rush and Blessed Are The Hip were written during my convalescence from shoulder (rotator cuff) surgery when the doctor told me not to play for three months (September through December 2016). I wrote over thirty tunes during that period and still have plenty that have yet to be played.
Blues for Bobby (the newest of all these tunes) was written specifically for Bobby Floyd and written shortly before Wally came on board as arranger.
These performances (largely due to the outstanding arrangements) are so much better than they would have ever had we not secured the services of The Amazing Wally Minko. Wally has also been a fantastic producer and an enormous inspiration to me. Despite the fact that he’s had to put up with me digging my heels in on so many things that he disagreed with, this is still a magnificent production, thanks primarily to the virtuosity and huge ears of Wally Minko.
Of course, everybody sounds excellent on this recording. We got Tom Evans to lay down most of the sax tracks and then David Mann came in and played the soprano sax parts and the solos and knocked it out of the park. John Swana on EVI ought to shake up plenty of people out there; what a monster! Mike Boone is killing it throughout, Byron Landham is so rock solid it’s hard to imagine anybody could have ever done it any better. Dave Stryker’s contributions are golden, maybe even platinum. Dan Fornero’s trumpet work is sparkling, beautiful, powerful, gentle, sensitive and raucous all at the exact right time!
The Amazing Wally Minko laid down impeccable electric piano and synthesizer tracks. And of course, the initial inspiration behind this whole recording idea, the great Bobby Floyd is the very foundation all the way up to the icing on the cake. Nothing sounds better than a great B3 player (in my opinion), and it’s hard to imagine that anybody could ever sound better than Bobby does on these tracks!
The mixing of these tunes was an interesting process. Wally and Dan and I all reviewed the mixes at home. Wally took notes from Dan and me and compiled them and sent them to Jason who has a beautiful, secluded facility in Hillsboro, NC. The three of us have had some interesting (and often conflicting) input regarding the balance and overall mix so what you’re hearing is the product of three (actually four when you count Jason) sets of ears of people who really cared about making this music sound as good as possible.
I’m rather proud of my international debut as a lyricist, as well as my debut as a lead vocalist on Eenie Meanie Beanie Weeny, but there was much discussion about whether the vocal should even be included. Thankfully, the composer’s intent won the day and you get to hear the full version of this tune, complete with lyrics and my ever-so-intimate vocal stylings.
At the studio, I reminded the guys that the subject matter reflected in the titles of these tunes was extremely deep and meaningful as I handed them tunes with titles like Mister Magoo, Goofin’ Off and Nude Eel. There is one tune that is written over the chord changes to Brother Can You Spare A Dime? and I’ll bet you can figure out which tune that is. Very important social statements, for sure! (Not really, just fun stuff!)
As Dan said to me many times, “There’s a difference between making a record and recording a live performance.” The excitement of a live performance is hard to capture in a recording studio, but the basic tracks were recorded live (in single takes) and then we added the other horns.
One of the most enjoyable moments for me was adding trumpet parts. Dan plays first and second trumpet and I played the third trumpet parts. Dan is unquestionably one of the top lead trumpet players in the world, and getting to be his section mate was a huge thrill for me after knowing him for 40 years but never playing under him in the trumpet section. The last tune we did together was Clip Clop Mogul (with that long fade section) and I didn’t want it to ever end since by that time we were totally in the zone.
Back home in L.A., Dan agreed to take the final mixes over to Bernie Grundman for mastering, and as he is known to do, Bernie makes these tracks sound like they’re living and breathing and we appreciate his great ears and amazing abilities!
There are a lot of people to thank for contributing in some way to this recording, including (but not limited to): • my late parents for instilling their values and work ethic in me and helping me prepare to be independent and successful, • Jamey Aebersold whose Winter Jazz Camp I attended in Dallas TX in 1979, • Dan and Wally who agreed to step in and help long after the session had been planned (they actually saved the day, and that’s the truth), • Leslie Peacock for making me aware of Dave Stryker, • Ian Schreier for being a wonderful host and lovely assistant, • Spencer Guerra for his tireless assistance and prodigious work ethic, • Jason Richmond for his incredible patience and willingness to “get it right” during the lengthy and tedious mixing process, • Chris Battistone for listening to all of my tunes as I wrote them and reviewing my mock-ups, • Richard Tener who helped me keep things in perspective, • my incredibly supportive wife Janet who drove over to hear part of the recording session and to meet the guys and add a touch of class to the proceedings, • the wonderful people of Chapel Hill, Pittsboro and Hillsboro who showed us some great southern hospitality (and fed us some outstanding barbeque), • the Philadelphia contingent (John, Mike & Byron) who made the road trip in a van and brought that unmistakable Philadelphia influence to the recording, • Fred and Yvonne Williams for helping me to set a course toward fulfilling my dreams, • Richard and Addie Lou Gilchrist for loving me unconditionally and being supportive and never judgmental, • my sisters Anne and Lou (and their husbands Frank and Rob) for their enthusiastic support of my musical ambitions, • Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt, Rich Matteson, Jack Peterson, Dan Haerle, “Funky” Don Owen, Byron Stripling, Mike Abene and Chris Gekker for being great teachers who pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing, • all the band members on this recording for being so willing to make this CD sound as good as humanly possible, and even a couple of notches better.
If I left you off this list, my humblest apologies, but know that I am grateful to you, too.
These charts are all available for purchase through my Boptism website and contain every note you’re hearing on this CD. Well, except you have to provide your own soloists, of course.
Thank you for reading and for listening!
— Rich, June 7, 2019

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