After a stellar career that produced eight best-selling jazz CDs and one gospel project, before his untimely death last year, Wayman Tisdale was ready to show the world a completely different side, one that was 12 years in making. Featuring 11 all-original songs, Tisdale’s own funky vocals and a crew of funky musicians, The Fonk Record also includes three very special guest stars with extensive funk resumes – George Clinton, George Duke and Ollie Woodson. Inspired by great funk artists like Bootsy Collins and Robert Wilson of the Gap Band, Tisdale created his own funky moniker Tiz and the Funkie Planetarians band, along with their source, Stinky the Sock. Those who were lucky enough to catch Tisdale in concert got a small glimpse of his alter ego during his brief funk-filled interludes during his jazz shows.
Prior to his unexpected death, Tisdale was still ride high on the tide of his very successful jazz career, hosting jazz cruises, headlining tours and being a loving father and husband. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Tisdale decided to accomplish one goal that he long set out to do, finishing The Fonk Record. There’s no doubt that The Fonk Record will appeal to longtime Tisdale followers. After all, Tisdale’s biggest radio hits were his unique interpretations of funk and R&B classics – “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” “Get Down on It” and “Can’t Hide Love.” Wayman Tisdale excelled at just about everything. He was one of the most-recruited high-school basketball players in the country. As an All America player from University of Oklahoma, Tisdale also played on the U.S. Olympic team in 1984, helping to bring home the gold. In 1986 the Indiana Pacers selected Tisdale as the No. 2 overall draft pick. For the next 12 years, Tisdale left his mark on the NBA with the Pacers, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns, scoring more than 12,800 points and pulling down more than 5,000 rebounds in a 12-year career. Before retiring from basketball in 1997 he had already made the transition to his music career. His first release Power Forward climbed to No. 4 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart and like all of his subsequent efforts, crossed over onto the R&B charts. His additional CDs included In the Zone, Decisions, Face to Face, 21 Days, Hang Time, Way Up! and Rebound. After Tisdale succumbed to cancer on May 15, 2009, the awards kept coming for the man talented enough to have two highly successful careers. Also, earlier this year, community leaders broke ground on the $20 million University of Oklahoma Wayman Tisdale Specialty Health Center in Tulsa. The health center will bring specialty medicine to undeserved residents in Tulsa.