Woven with the threads of funk, soul, gospel, blues and rock -- and executed by some of the industry's most beloved players -- The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown's Volume 2 is available worldwide today. Collaborators on this release include Vernon Reid (Living Colour,) Speech (Arrested Development,) Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind and Fire,) Fred Wesley(The James Brown Band), Taylor Dayne and countless other talented musicians.
Improvisation is at the root of The Big Ol' Nasty Getdown, which was conceived by bassist John Heintz at a music festival in 2007. Heintz found himself in a jam session with members of Galactic, Papa Grows Funk, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and more, and sought to re-create that serendipitous, unrehearsed vibe that's unexpectedly created and can carry music to unexpected places.
Heintz began presenting the idea to the musicians he'd been meeting on the road. "Everybody seemed interested, but touring schedules being what they are, it was an uphill battle. I asked Derrick Johnson and John Paul Miller from Yo' Mama's Big Fat Booty Band if they'd help me organize a collaborative project and they came on board. We started calling every musician we knew including Frank Mapstone, a knowledgeable producer and musician from FL. Frank and I clicked instantly and it was apparent that he was the most versed in the studio environment. Frank ultimately became my production partner with the Getdown. We have worked side by side for the last decade on this project."
The first Big Ol' Nasty Getdown took place in a 14-bedroom house on Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans in December 2007. Heintz assembled a free-floating ensemble that included 35 musicians from 17 bands, including The Lee Boys, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, and Dumpstapunk, as well Ralph Roddenbery and The Funky Meters, Garry "Starchild" Shider and Belita Woods from P. Funk. The eight day session was unplanned and unrehearsed. Bar-b-cue smoked in the backyard, songs were written in the living room and tracks were recorded all over the house, as the inspiration flowed. The result was released as Big Ol' Nasty Getdown's Volume 1.
The first sessions for Volume 2 was cut at a massive cabin in the woods outside of Asheville, NC. "We used the same blueprint," Heintz explains. "We assembled, created a sense of camaraderie in the house and let it fly. We all stayed together for a week straight, living in the house together and basically having a week-long house party during which a lot of the music was written. We then went to a studio down the road and started recording what we were putting down in the house."
This time, more than 50 musicians participated in the making of Volume 2, including Vernon Reid (Living Colour,) Speech (Arrested Development,) Larry Dunn (Earth, Wind and Fire,) Fred Wesley (James Brown, Horny Horns) Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones, Tiny Universe,) Michael Ray and Clifford Adams (Kool and the Gang,) Taylor Dayne, Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne,) RonKat Spearman (Katdelic, Parliament-Funkadelic,) Alvin Ford Jr. (Dumpstaphunk), Norwood Fisher, Angelo Moore, Dirty Walt (Fishbone), Rev. Desmond D'Angelo (The Soular System) and Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk, The Funky Meters), to name just a few.
"Mantra," the first single, rides Norwood Fisher's big, Bootsy-like bass line pumped up by blasts of brass, the wha wha guitar of Tori Ruffin (The Time) and anchored by the inexorable snare of Jeffry Suttles (Taylor Dayne). Speech assures us that the funk will drill us like a dentist, while Kendra Foster invites us to, "Breathe it out and let it flow."
"As the project progresses, we're seeing an evolution on each album, even from song to song," Mapstone says. "We stay open to the flow of the music. If the groove moves in a different direction, we go with it and follow the creative force in the room. We want to capture the feeling of a late night backstage jam - sounds that only musicians have heard before."