After nearly a decade of existence, by the mid 2000s Bucho become legendary in Northern California for its attractive mix of rock, funk, jazz soul and Latin sounds that the group labels an "Urban Blend." Named after a character in the 1995 movie Desperado, the band features a hot horn section (Roger Cox, Anthony Coleman, Leon Moore, Justin Williams) and equally strong rhythm section (Josh Lippi and Derek Taylor), with a sound highlighted by Ben Schwier's everpresent organ and lead singer Gerald Pease's crisp first tenor.
Bucho shared the stage over the years with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Michelle Branch and Youssou N'Dour and was named to the Sacramento Awards Music Hall of Fame after being the Readers' Choice winner in the World/Latin category three years straight.
The group debuted with a self-titled album in 2003, but it was their excellent follow-up, Omit the Harsh, that caught our attention. The sextet displayed a 70s groove with an intimate feel - even on the upbeat cuts - that alternated between the funky soul and pop sounds of Tower of Power and Blood, Sweat and Tears, but with a touch of Los Lonely Boys. Omit The Harsh opens with four great cuts: the funky "The Joy I Bring," the latin/smooth soul "Pain & Pleasuring," the jazzy "Original Lover" (with a nod to Roberta Flack) and the neo-soul style title track. The songs on the second half of the disc are not quite as compelling (save the fun "The Time It Takes/What A Day"), but the group's performance is top notch front-to-back. The disc was well written and even better performed, with the kind of high-quality, organic musicianship that was a real treat to hear in 2005.
Soon after recording Omit the Harsh, the band was sidetracked by an auto accident that injured Pease (resulting in multiple knee surgeries). While continuing to write and demo material, individual members also found work assisting other vocalists. The Bucho rhythm section backed up recording artists Nino Moschella and Darondo, as well as touring with Alice Russell. And horn player Coleman was perhaps been the busiest, working with Mary J. Blige, Joss Stone and others.
By Chris Rizik