Buddha's Belly | The Governator

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Rock: Jam-band Jazz: Acid Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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The Governator

by Buddha's Belly

Filthy grooves. Freakish songforms. Unabashed virtuosity.
Genre: Rock: Jam-band
Release Date: 

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1. Trance for Sir Fancy Pants
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4:31 $0.99
2. Octogetarian
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5:10 $0.99
3. O.S.U.B.
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5:08 $0.99
4. Red Head
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4:20 $0.99
5. Dill Stew
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6:09 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Filthy grooves. Freakish songforms. Unabashed virtuosity. Combining influences and studies in jazz, rock, classical, and world musics, Buddha's Belly creates a unique form of entertainment: Crime Jazz. Rock fans headbang. Funk fanatics get down. And jazz enthusiasts are blown away by the mind-teasing, ear-pleasing experience of Buddha's Belly. Although they don't sound like a typical rock, jazz, or jam band, all of these scenes welcome the Belly due to their strong improvisation skills, astounding stage presence, and catchy melodies. The Belly's humble roots-playing at frat parties and college dive bars-ensure that they can entertain any type of crowd with unexpected covers and explosive energy.

Born in the dorm rooms of Northwestern University in the fall of 2000, the band has quickly transformed from a college band into a top regional act-and is fast breaking into the national scene. 2003 was a breakout year for Buddha's Belly as they played over 70 shows, expanding their Midwest fan base and touring to the East and West coasts. Buddha's Belly has shared the stage with a wide array of bands, including Umphrey's McGee, the Virginia Coalition, ulu, and Rachael Yamagata. They've also headlined shows at Chicago's House of Blues, New York's Elbow Room and festivals across the Midwest.

The talented quartet features New Jersey's own Evan Cobb with sensitive melodies and ferocious solos on tenor saxophone. From Washington State, Dan Golden adds tight rhythms and infectious riffs on the guitar and provides pointed vocals. On bass guitar stage left is Chicago native Pete Wojtowicz-the man who only dances from below the belt-thumping and bumping a dynamic display of bass lines. Atlanta's Jason Hanggi rounds things out on the drum set with driving beats and maddening grooves.

Buddha's Belly recorded their debut album "Waking Up Ugly" in December of 2001, and quickly made a splash in the Chicago music scene through independent sales. Ever since, they've continued refining a distinct sound. Their latest effort, "The Governator," coming in spring 2004, showcases their progress as musicians and songwriters. The new EP encapsulates a blend of funk, rock and improvisation-a.k.a. Crime Jazz-into an experience any listener won't soon forget. Adding to the mix are two tracks featuring Johnny Showtime, Liquid Soul's Grammy-nominated trombonist. Aside from these two studio projects, Buddha's Belly has sold and distributed thousands of copies of their live album series-appropriately titled "Live 2002" and "Live 2003."

Rarely can an audience member place Buddha's Belly in a particular genre. However, smiling faces and groovin' feet on dance floors across the country show that Crime Jazz entertains from head to toe. Look for Buddha's Belly as they tour extensively through 2004 in support of "The Governator."


Reviews


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Eric Land

sweet, but short
Great CD. Very happy with the purchase. Wish the CD was longer.

chuk roast


buddha's belly is bullbous brother - its b-b-bad ass big. a bonified bouncin boogaloo blast !

Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com

Filthy grooves. Freakish songforms. Unabashed virtuosity.
Musicianship – 10 out of 10
Check out this description of the music of Buddha’s Belly: ‘Filthy grooves. Freakish songforms. Unabashed virtuosity. Combining influences and studies in jazz, rock, classical, and world music, Buddha’s Belly creates a unique form of entertainment: Crime Jazz.’ What a cool and fitting description!

Buddha’s Belly is one of the newer bands to join MWB, and they are a fine addition! I’ve heard a lot of jam bands, and enjoyed a few evenings reveling while the band played on, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a jam band as talented and diverse as these guys! I love the work of the band’s instrumentalists as they play smart, interesting tunes that are creatively executed, but not preposterously long. I especially like the interaction between guitarist Dan Golden and Tenor Sax man Evan Cobb. These guys play well together, and seem to have that ‘sixth sense’ that musicians get when they play together for a long time. This ability allows them to know what direction the groove is headed at all times! For a jam band, this ability is a great asset! Underneath it all, bassist Pete Wojtowicz and drummer Jason Hanggi create a solid groove that is both solid and fluid. They are both skilled at ‘playing in the pocket’, but aren’t afraid to step outside of it every once in awhile to experiment and create riffs of their own. Honestly, I enjoyed hearing this band so much that I listened to the CD twice in a row on my way to work one evening, and then listened to it again on the ride home! Buddha’s Belly is my new favorite band!

Songwriting – 9.5 out of 10
I know that I’m going to get head scratches on the slightly lower score for songwriting. The only reason for that is the fact that I wasn’t as impressed by the band’s lyrics as I was by their ability to craft a tasty tune. The lyrics weren’t horrible or anything, but they weren’t of the same caliber as their musical chops!

As far as the musical arrangements go, the songs on The Governator score perfect 10’s! I am rarely this impressed with the skill and savvy of a group of musicians! To be sure, these guys have written tunes that are captivating!

Sound Quality/Professionalism - 10 out of 10
There was no doubt that I would give a perfect score in this category! The sound quality is incredible on The Governator! I haven’t heard a sax solo that I enjoyed this much in years, especially a tenor sax! The sound achieved by Evan Cobb’s is truly flawless. The producers/engineers/mixdown guys did an awesome job of creating an album with great dynamics, great presence, and very true-to-life sound! I can’t wait to see these guys live! I would imagine that they lay down a killer sound onstage as well!

Packaging - 8 out of 10
Choosing the path that made sense for them, Buddha’s Belly went with a full color sleeve for their EP, instead of a jewel case and insert. I gripe all the time about not having lyrics and extensive liner notes, but in this case, the packaging that they chose is just right. The photography on the cover is good, and all of the pertinent musical credit/production info is on the back! Functional, compact and lightweight, this packaging is perfect for bands on the go!

Favorite Tracks (in ranked order)
Trance for Sir Fancy Pants
Red Head
Dill Stew
O.S.U.B.
Octogetarian

Overall Rating – 9.5 out of 10
I’m noticing a funny trait in my reviews: when I dislike a CD, my review is usually long! By contrast, when I really like the CD, the review tends to be shorter! Does that mean that I’m a real-life music critic now?

Though I didn’t use many words, I must say that I am thrilled with The Governator, the latest album from Chicago Crime Jazz band Buddha’s Belly! I definitely recommend that you make your way to the band’s website soon and get your very own copy of the record! While you’re there, order everything else that is available, because I know you’re going to want to hear their full anthology eventually!

Seriously, it’s not often that you’ll hear a band that is as talented as Buddha’s Belly. They are skilled musicians with beginnings in the frat houses and college pubs around Northwestern, who have now graduated to playing premiere venues all over North America! They are hard working musicians that deserve every ounce of praise, liquor and door money that they can collect in their travels! Well done, guys! Keep up the good work!—Mark Lush, Midwestbands.com, 11/6/04