Although he was never as well known during his lifetime as contemporaries like Lalo Schifrin, Roy Budd spent the 1970s knocking out an array of film scores that mixed orchestral film scoring techniques with rock, jazz, and soul elements to create a unique and experimental sound that remains interesting today. The more experimental edge of his sound is captured on Buddism, an album that collects several jazz and funk-edged cuts from scores Budd wrote between 1970 and 1975. Highlights include "Get Carter," a subtle track that layers Budd's slick keyboard work over a tense backdrop of jazz bass and tablas, and "End Theme," an atmospheric cut that pits taut string orchestrations against a funky rhythm track driven by "Theme From Shaft"-styled wah-wah guitar. There are also some lounge music-style moments, the best being "Out Of It," a mellow bit of cocktail jazz that allows Budd to show off his impressive keyboard chops. Unfortunately, Buddism is also burdened with a few misjudged cuts that attempt to update Budd's sound by remixing the source material and adding new electronic rhythm tracks: As a result, cuts like "Mister Funker" and "MC. Theme" sap Budd's music of its personality and reduce it to faceless dance music. Despite these occasional distracting moments, Buddism remains a solid collection of material that cherry-picks the best up-tempo material from a number of Budd's scores. This quality makes Buddism an ideal choice for those already familiar with Budd's style, but novice listeners would be better off starting with the earlier and more consistent collection Rebirth of the Budd.
by Donald A. Guarisco