Rich Willey has been calling his bands “Boptism” since 1986. His most recent band, Boptism Funk Band, includes more than one jazz veteran. The music on the latest album, “Conspiracy” seems more like straightforward jazz that is suitable for veteran, novice and non-jazz lovers alike.
The sound and style of “Conspiracy”
Smooth jazz and funk are at the heart of the sounds found on “Conspiracy.” Deep bass, groovy horns and a rhythmic organ keep each song moving. The musicians’ styles mesh well, and it is as if the instruments are having a conversation. Listeners will likely find themselves waiting for a favorite passage or motif to show up just so they can enjoy the groove one more time.
On “Conspiracy,” Willey plays both trumpet and bass trumpet. His instrument choices make for interesting sounds on each song. Not to mention the size of the Boptism Funk Band. The group is made of 10 members, most of whom play more than one instrument. Rich horn sounds can be heard throughout, and it makes sense. In addition to Willey’s contributions, Tom Evans plays alto, tenor and baritone sax, in addition to clarinet and flute. It should also be pointed out that accomplished guitarist Dave Stryker is in the band.
All of the songs on the recording are original. There are 10 tracks on “Conspiracy.” While it is difficult to pick a “best” song, a couple stand out: “Clip Clop Mogul” and “Eenie Meenie Beenie Weenie” show off the group’s groove abilities and overall musicianship.
With “Conspiracy” Willey has stated that he wants to bring jazz back to its earlier days. What that means in part, is that jazz was meant for dancing, so he wanted to make music that made people want to get up and move, he also wanted to make music that could just be listened to, and finally he wanted to make music for people who didn’t think they liked jazz.
The heavy grooves and rhythms will inspire dancing and admiring of the Boptism sound.
About Rich Willey
Willey’s interest in playing jazz dates back to his college days in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A native of Florida who moved to North Carolina in 2002, Willey seems like a musician who keeps busy. In addition to his own performance schedule, Willey also teaches and writes books about music. He has a masters from the Manhattan School of Music, after earning a bachelors from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Willey also composes music, runs Boptism Music, a publishing company. He continues to practice his trumpet and bass trumpet and in the past two years, his tuba.
From the sounds of things, Willey and the rest of the Boptism Funk Band have achieved the goals that Willey set out for them. The music sounds like jazz of yesteryear, maybe not like the very first jazz records, but certainly like the those sounds that engaged listeners in the middle of the 20th century. And audiences who might have ignored jazz previously, will not want to ignore this album. Here, fun, tradition and infectious grooves are wrapped up in rhythm. Definitely worth listening to.