Bucketrider is a high-octane avant-garde jazz group from Australia. Cross-generational and cross-stylistic, the unit allies the raw energy of punk rock with funky horn lines, jazz licks, and Sun Ra-derived free improvisation. Even though by 2002 the group still had to perform its first concert outside of its home country, its CDs (all released on the small independent label Dr Jim's Records) have enjoyed airplay on college radio in Europe and North America.
The unit was founded in the mid-'90s by three musicians active on widely different fronts of avant-garde music: drummer Sean Baxter, saxophonist Tim O'Dwyer, and microtonal bassist David Brown. While the former two were in their twenties at the time, the latter had been active on the Australian music scene (including a stint with hard rockers AC/DC) when Baxter and O'Dwyer were still comfortably swimming in their mothers' wombs.
From the start, the group adopted a loose geometry configuration, the trio forming the nucleus. Extra musicians, usually horn players, were first added on a need-to-play basis, but by 2000 the lineup had crystallized in a quintet with Adam Simmons (reeds) and James Wilkinson (trombone) completing the ranks. Bucketrider quickly established a reputation as a wild live act in Melbourne and Sydney and heartily jumped on board when Oren Ambarchi started his What Is Music? festival, eventually becoming a fixture of the event while also appearing at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Dr Jim released their first two CDs in 1999, The Adoration of the Lamb and Guignol's Band. On-stage, the group has collaborated with dancers (Sandra Parker's Dance Works), new music composers (Kate Neal and the Libra ensemble), and presented tribute concerts of Sun Ra and John Coltrane's music. The release of Le Baphomet in late 2001 presented an even sharper, more defined sound.