MUSIC: The Budos Band

posted by dpm on 01/20/2009

Budos Rising - East Coast Afro-Funk Finds a New Home

You need bad lighting to listen to The Budos Band.  This is the kind of music that requires a stiff drink, round sunglasses, and perhaps a cigar in order to properly enjoy it; some kind of tangible Listening Atmosphere.  Born from an after school jazz ensemble in a Staten Island community center, this crew of afro-soulers formed Los Barbudos (the Bearded Ones), a title shortened to their present moniker after a member shaved off the namesake.

Their music conjures images of the murky, amoebic stages of mankind, pictures witching their way into your head with each thick voodoo beat. The echoing hazy-paced notes of "Origin of Man" are something Charlie Parker might have written if he'd lived in a primordial swamp, done less heroin and more opium, and played the trumpet.  The thick layered funk of "Budos Rising", with snake-charmer horns rising like smoke from a be-organed dancehall beat, will get your head bobbing back and forth like a true beatnik.  "Chicago Falcon" is more brass magic, fastened to a psychedelic organ-drum dialogue in the background with rhythmic guitar creeping out from the depths like the Loch Ness monster.

The first album (intro) Budos' second album (above), released in September of 2007, sees less afro-beat and more heavy-lidded groove rising from their shiny instruments.  This is not a picture of a lobster.

There are no lyrics to accompany these brass-tastic tunes, so look to the title instead for verbal guidance.  It plants an idea in the listener's head, sprouting into a sense of the song's content, something rightly left unworded, unsaid. describes these fellows as "another Daptone find that shows the always reliable Brooklyn soul imprint once again ahead of the pack. The Budos bring Daptone a little bit closer to the African diaspora, where Fela [Kuti] and Tony Allen mingle with Otis Redding and Sam & Dave."  Their label Daptone adds "hallucinogenic venom" to their sound.  Add some of James Brown's balls-out soul, some of Antibalas' fat-bottomed hollowed-out horns, and some of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's tasty Nawlin's momentum to the roster of influences, and you've got a good idea of what to expect from these groovy dudes.

These eleven white boys from Staten Island represent a harking back to all that is beloved in the chewy afro-beats beats of Fela Kuti, and airy dizziness of Dave Brubeck's jazz.

Go, go!  Enjoy them on MySpace, in Brooklyn this weekend, or at the Langerado Music Festival in Florida on March 7th