On with Their Heads
Buddy Budson has been playing jazz piano around the Detroit area for the past 48 years, beginning at local clubs at the age of fifteen. In 1973, Buddy joined drummer Buddy Rich's big band, toured England, Australia, and the United States, and recorded an album with the band, "The Roar of '74". Soon after, Buddy toured with both guitarist Earl Klugh and the Motown group, The Four Tops. He has also backed well-known performers including Henry Mancini, Mel Torme, Sammy Davis, Jr., Marlena Shaw, Charles McPherson, and Steve Turre. When the Fox Television Network debuted in the late '80's Buddy composed and arranged the theme song and much of the transitional music for the sitcom, Duet. He has also done vocal and instrumental arrangements for big band and orchestra. Buddy is married to noted Detroit vocalist, Ursula Walker, and together they perform at clubs and concerts throughout the Detroit metro area. They have also given many clinics at Detroit-area schools and the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Buddy is the recipient of a Metro Times Jazz Award and the Detroit Metro Area Musicians and Entertainers Association Teddy Harris, Jr. Legendary Award. In 2004, Buddy released an album entitled "On With Their Heads" with The Buddy Budson Sextet. Mark Stryker, the Detroit Free Press music critic, wrote in his review: There is a lot to like about "On With Their Heads," an inspired new CD by veteran Detroit pianist Buddy Budson's crackling sextet. Nearly all of the music is by Budson, and it radiates a deep melodic lyricism and expressive joy that can take many forms, from the jaunty hard-bop swagger of "Back to Kansas" to the heartfelt-but-never-saccharine bossa nova contour of "Ursula," with a melting horn blend. The title track bites harder, it's shifting rhythms and darker modalities pushing the soloists into their most adventurous work, including Budson, trumpeter Dwight Adams, tenor saxophonist Chris Kaercher and valve trombonist Al Duncan. Bassist Marion Hayden is a rock-steady presence. But much of the credit for the CD's spark must go to drummer, Danny Spencer, a former Detroiter now based in San Francisco and sorely missed here. He plays with red-hot fire and swing, generous spirit and a liberating looseness that let's the music breathe even as he kicks the band in the rear.