Fifteen months after Wayman Tisdale’s passing, the Oklahoma basketball-star-turned-jazz-bassist released Tuesday his final album: “The Fonk Record.”
The late Tisdale, his pal and Oklahoma country music star Toby Keith, album producer Derek “DOA” Allen, Tisdale’s widow Regina and others talk about the long-awaited album in this video, which also samples the Oklahoman’s funky music.
The project, which was 12 years in the making, features 11 original songs, Tisdale’s own funky vocals and a crew of down-and-dirty musicians. “The Fonk Record” also boasts three guest stars with extensive funk résumés – George Clinton, George Duke and the late Ali Woodson.
Inspired by great funk artists like Bootsy Collins and Robert Wilson of the Tulsa-based Gap Band, Tisdale created his own funky moniker, Tiz, and named his band The Fonkie Planetarians. Those who were lucky enough to catch Tisdale in concert got a glimpse of his alter ego when he’d perform 20 to 30-minute funk-filled interludes during his jazz shows.
“He spent the last two years of his life finishing ‘The Fonk Record,’” says Allen in the album’s press materials. “Only he knew, when no one else did, that God was going to call him home. While he was in the hospital getting chemotherapy, he used funk music as therapy. I would send him files to listen to and it was part of the healing process. When he died, he was at peace.”
Tisdale died May 15, 2009, but it’s great to think that his winning smile and musical talent lives on in particularly funky style: “The Fonk Record” cover features a colorful illustration of Tisdale sporting an Afro and green shades.