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How Boptism Music Publishing Got Started

In the summer of 1997, I was a student at the University of South Florida, practicing nightly in the music building with fellow student Tim McGinley, and playing a bunch of duets that he had bought — some better than others. After playing some jazz duets that were not the best of the bunch, I told him, “I could write better duets than these,” and commenced writing one each day and bringing it with me to play that night with Tim.

After I had written over a dozen, Tim said, “You should get these published.” Not knowing what to do, I asked my teacher Don Owen how to get a book of duets published, and he referred me to Alafia Publishing who published my first duet book, I’d Rather Be Boppin’  for a couple months. They then told me that I needed to find a bigger publisher that would do the book justice, so I went to see Alan Colin, son of the late Charles Colin in New York City. Alan jumped at the opportunity (the books were camera-ready and required no pre-press preparation whatsoever). He published my first two volumes of duets, and when I went to ask for some royalties, he told me that the books had made no money and . . . by the way . . . do I have a third volume ready?

Well, I met with jazz journalist Bob Bernotas a couple days later, and we commiserated about lousy deals from publishers, etc. and decided to just start our own publishing company. That was September 24th, 2001. Bob published two books, Top Brass and Reed All About It and I started writing more books as a result of being affiliated with The Reinhardt Foundation (also as a result of being an adjunct professor for many years, teaching trumpet and jazz combos at University of North Carolina Asheville, Clemson University, Limestone College, and Gardner Webb University).

Bob went his own way in 2008 and I’ve continued adding to the Boptism Music Publishing catalog ever since. My new partner is my sweet and beautiful wife Janet, and she does pretty much everything now, except write the books.

I’ve written lots of arrangements for various small groups, and from time to time I go back and polish one up to make it suitable for publishing. I have another book idea kicking around and plan to continue turning out materials that challenge brass students for as long as I am able. — Rich Willey, July 1, 2015