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.”