CD Review – Bill “The Buddha” Dickens, Tha Truth…
I always enjoy running into Bill Dickens at the NAMM shows! I recall that he even gave us a bit of a preview about ’Tha Truth’ as far back as 2012.
Bill is a soft spoken powerhouse of a musician! Don’t let his mild mannered demeanor fool you, “The Buddha” can totally hold his own with the best of them and then some. Of course, we have always known this!
Back in the day (2007), Bill has even written for BMM…
So, when he handed me this CD at the 2015 Winter NAMM show, I was really looking forward to giving it a listen. Let me tell you, this CD does not disappoint.
Bill brings a solid collection of tunes, many of which are his own compositions. The bass work is flawless and extraordinarily exciting. Let’s not overlook the fact that Bill’s weapon of choice is his trusty Conklin Signature 7-string. He also does a fair amount of playing keys as well and the team of supporting musicians on this project is perfectly suited to highlight Bill’s playing.
Lets have a look at some of the tracks…
“Tha Truth” is the title track and it introduces Bill with a lot of Funk and attitude. The slap and pop work here is just insane and there is such speed and precision that you might not even need to look any further. I think this is what Bill is referring to as “Speed Funk”. This first track gives us the real idea of Bill’s bass voice.
“Footprints” is a upbeat Latin piece with a furious tempo and sweet syncopation. The percussive nature of this piece really pushes the limits. This is the opportunity for Bill to show us his soloing, both in a soft and hard fashion. Kind of a Ying/Yang piece, this tune has the perfect balance of opposite ends of a musical spectrum.
“People Make The World Go Round” is a familiar tune that Bill really makes his own. He holds the groove down with exquisite harmonic phrasing, then follows by cutting loose and really showing his chops. There is one run that is quite incredible! Even though I am blown away by the bass work here, I need to point out that the whole ensemble does a great job on this piece; Bill’s skill doing arrangements is quite evident.
This CD is loaded with a nice varied assortment of styles and tempos, but one in particular caught my attention… “TC Jam” has a world music blend that elicits a Middle Eastern feel merged with some funk. Solid bass foundation adorned with interesting musical choices in the arrangement make this piece most interesting!
“The Chicken” has this great gospel kind of feel to it. The intro with the piano, sax and organ had me hooked from the start. The following groove is perfect for strutting on down the street. There is plenty of room for the band to pour their hearts into the piece. I just like the feel of this song, as I can’t sit still while listening to it.
This is just a small taste of what you can expect from this 16 track work of art. The wide variety of rhythms and tempos keeps us entertained without repetition, while the choices Bill has made for his set-list really highlight his abilities as a bassist, as well as the task of orchestration and arrangement. It is clear to me that Bill played what he enjoys and this is his way of sharing with all of us. I know I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear “Tha Truth”.
Check out this CD and you will make it a key part of your musical collection.
For more Information about Bill “The Buddha” Dickens visit 2015.billthebuddhadickens.com