Composer Rich Willey, in an effort to get some of his tunes recorded as well as possible, assembled this amazing group of musicians at Manifold Recording Studio in Pittsboro, NC, from April 6–8 of 2019. With the remarkable arranging and producing talents of The Amazing Wally Minko and the astute guidance and keen ears of executive producer Dan Fornero, the results are simply outstanding.
Rich Willey’s not-so-secret Conspiracy is to get back to the original essence of jazz. Jazz began as dance music, fun and enjoyable to listen to and accessible to pretty much everybody. Rich thinks there are plenty of people who will embrace the infectious rhythms, the strong melodies, the consonant harmonies and the light-heartedness of his Boptism Funk Band. It’s such a diabolical Conspiracy that there are also many levels of musical satisfaction in this music: for the dancer, for the die-hard jazz listener, and even for those who think they don’t like jazz!
Dan Fornero, Trumpet & Flugelhorn
John Swana, Valve Trombone & EVI
Tom Evans, Tenor Sax, Alto Sax, Clarinet, Flute, Baritone Sax
David Mann, Tenor Sax & Soprano Sax
Rich Willey, Bass Trumpet & Trumpet
Dave Stryker, Guitar
Wally Minko, Fender Rhodes and Synthesizer
Bobby Floyd, Hammond B3 Organ & Piano
Mike Boone, 5-String Electric Bass
Byron “Wookie” Landham, Drums
1. Mister Magoo — 4:32
2. Goofin’ Off — 7:19
3. Clip Clop Mogul — 7:17
4. Blessed Are The Hip — 7:05
5. Adrenaline Rush — 5:30
6. Brother Kenya’s Paradigm — 5:31
7. Secret Things — 7:32
8. Conspiracy — 4:25
9. Nude Eel — 8:12
10. Eenie Meanie Beanie Weeny — 6:38
11. Blues For Bobby — 5:11
This recording was produced and directed by The Amazing Wally Minko
Executive Producer: Dan Fornero
All selections written by Rich Willey, Ⓒ & Ⓟ 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)
Review by Rick Simerly, Trombonist, Elizabethton TN
“I’m still listening to “Conspiracy” and enjoying every second! The tunes are great, the group is tight, the solos are fantastic and the recording quality/mix is outstanding! It is hard to compare this to “Down and Dirty” because that recording is so incredible, but “Conspiracy” just might be my favorite. Thanks so much for giving me promotional copies of both and congratulations on two perfect projects!”
“Blessed Are The Hip” is absolutely tasty, and I’ve no doubt jazz DJ’s around the world are going to pick this full-bodied and high-energy tune for regular rotations! — Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews — September 4, 2020
Rich met with John Swana via Zoom on November 22, 2020. They discussed many things: EVI, their respective Philadelphia jazz upbringings, the Conspiracy CD recording, trumpet playing, valve trombone playing, and more. It was a good hang, the first of these from the guys on the Conspiracy CD . . . more interviews to come soon.
(Correction: Rich had his first shoulder surgery in September of 2015.)
David Mann meets via Zoom with Rich Willey on November 24, 2020. We learn about David’s remarkable resumé and got a glimpse of the road he has traveled to get to where he is (the journey that has him on close to a thousand CDs). David has two solo albums out on the Antilles label: “Games” and “Insight” plus an album on the Encoded Music label called “Touch” as well as an album by his late brother Ned Mann (featuring an all-star cast of players, including Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Mark Egan, Adam Nussbaum and Tim Ries) called “Finding My Way Home” that David produced for Ned.
Correction: The second year of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop was 1989.
Guitarist extraordinaire Dave Stryker met with Rich on Zoom to talk about Dave’s journey as a musician, some of the performance and employment situations he’s enjoyed (“luck happens when opportunity meets up with preparation”), some of the experiences he’s lived in his development as a jazz musician, and some of the projects he’s produced and is actively promoting now.