Primary Instrument: Band/ensemble/orchestra
The Budos Band is the quintessence of Staten Island Soul. Their exciting new afro-influenced take on instrumental music has been captivating listeners from turntables as well as bandstands across the nation. Eleven pieces in all, their group consists of drums, bass, guitar, electric organ, two trumpets, baritone saxophone, and a percussion section employing bongos, congas, tambourine, guiro, clave, shekere and cowbell. Their music has been described as “compelling”, “unbridled”, “psychedelic”, “innovative”, and above all “soulful.” However, like many majestic things, their sound had humble beginnings.
The core of the band met as youths while all participating in an after school jazz ensemble at the Richmond Ave. Community Center, in Staten Island, New York. It wasn’t long before their common hunger for the rougher stripped down sounds of Soul Music brought them together for late night ferry rides into Manhattan, where they would sneak in the back door of the No Moore Club downtown to hear bands like Antibalas, the Sugarman Three, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. It was there, in that basement hothouse packed with only the hippest James Brown fanatics and Fela Kuti disciples, where the kernels of instrumental Afro-Soul were first sown into the fertile minds of these talented young men. Kernels which would later germinate and grow into the roots of their strong unique sound. After meeting resistance from the band director about the direction they were trying to take the music, they left the Community Center to form Los Barbudos, (spanish for “the bearded ones”) a name which was later trimmed to The Budos Band after one of the boys shaved. With the recruitment of a few horn players from the neighboring borough of Brooklyn, the band began to practice regularly, exploring the outer cosmic boundaries of afro-beat and soul music from the safety of their tiny concrete rehearsal space on Sand St. As they learned and grew together, their music matured, expanding and settling into a groove as deep and as broad as the Hudson Bay itself. By the time they had arranged a chance to play for a Daptone A&R man, their sound had hardened to a diamond. They were signed on the spot and scheduled to go into the studio immediately for a recording session where they would proceed to cut their first full length album in the better part of three nights.
With the release of their self-titled debut album in November of 2005, the Budos Band officially joined the ranks of the Daptone Family and began to perform more and more frequently as part of the Daptone Soul Revue, alongside many of the very acts that had inspired them only a few years before at the No Moore Club. In classic Daptone Family form, Budos guitarist Tommy ‘TNT’ Brenneck has since joined as a full-ranking member of the illustrious Dap-Kings band, and Dap-Kings’ trumpeter David Guy has reached across in turn to join the Budos Band for appearances both on the band stand and in the studio. Show after show, the Budos Band have proven their ability not only to deliver the unique, afro-psychedelic raw funk sound of their first record live, but to surpass it with dynamic soulful performances that have whipped crowds into dancing frenzies from coast to coast.
In sight of the quantity and quality of the repertoire that had continued to deepen the band’s on stage arsenal since their first release, it was not difficult for Brenneck and the boys to convince Daptone house producer Bosco Mann that they were ripe and ready for another studio outing. Thus, in early March of this year, the Budos Band returned to Daptone’s notorious “House of Soul” in Bushwick, Brooklyn to record live what would be ninety percent of their sophomore album. (One song, Mas O Menos, originally intended to be a 45’ only release, was recorded in a session last fall.) This second record, The Budos Band II, slated for release later this summer, highlights the subtleties of the bands abilities to navigate eerily beautiful and captivatingly melodic arrangements through the psychedelic soundscape of their distinct Afro-Soul universe. It is an interesting side note that on both the final night of their tracking session for their first record, and that of their second, there occurred strangely ominous, if coincidental, lunar eclipses.
The musicians claim the secret to their enormous sound is a selfless approach to rhythm: each man finding his own place and purpose in the greater landscape of the measure. However, any observant listener can hear that it is something far more simple and rare that elevates their sound beyond the sphere of cognitive reason and into that far greater realm of pure feeling: The Budos Band have Soul, on the inside. And it’s strong.