The 2nd Annual...
Hope to see you in Miami. :-)
The 2nd Annual...
Hope to see you in Miami. :-)
...AND gets the cover :-)
I put "Jazz" group in quotes because Michael League refers to Snarky Puppy as a "Pop" Group that performs mostly instrumental music and improvises a lot. :-)
Concert review: Eclectic Snarky Puppy is a new breed of jazz band (VIDEO)
Published: Monday April 3, 2017
By Jon Fassnacht
Mutts or mongrel puppies are so crossbred they don't belong to one recognized breed.
The same can be said for Snarky Puppy.The musical collective, which made its Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest debut on Sunday at a very well attended Santander Performing Arts Center, defies categorization. Its music is complex, heavy on improvisation and solos, but it's too eclectic to be simply jazz or even jazz fusion. And its arrangements, while freewheeling at times, are much more controlled than those of jam bands.
I wrote this one up on my personal blog because it was... well... personal. :-)
But I feel compelled to at least cross-post the link here.
Here's the video on YouTube if you wish to skip the LONG blog post and just watch the Video Compilation:
This was a really special one for Snarky Puppy. :-)
It's the first time that they've been awarded a Grammy for an album that represents just the regular band members without special guests, playing their own music. This was awarded while the band was hosting their first ever GroundUp Music Festival.
Their 3rd Grammy Award overall:
2014: "Something", Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance
2016: Sylva, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
2017: Culcha Vulcha, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
BRAVO Michael League & Snarky Puppy. :-)
Snarky Puppy’s fortunes seemed to be on an upswing. Though it was still struggling to fill stateside venues, the band had just returned from its first European tour, a surprising success. The hope was to sell 50 tickets for the first show, in London; instead the group sold out a 400-capacity room. Back at the airport in Chicago afterward, the musicians buzzed among themselves: Maybe something is happening here.
They got into a van and drove more than 30 hours straight, to Takoma, Wash., for some West Coast shows. Over the first three nights, Snarky Puppy played to a total of about 100 people, says bandleader Michael League.
“The third night was my birthday, and there were three people there,” says League, recalling the story over the phone during a break in studio recording. “It was really a healthy smack in the face. Not that anybody was getting a big head, but the idea that just because something’s happening somewhere, it doesn’t mean you’re big [expletive].”
When Snarky Puppy, whose sound can best be described as a fresh form of jazz fusion, plays House of Blues on Wednesday, it’s guaranteed to have more than three people in the audience.
The instrumental ensemble, which includes a few core members and lots of rotating contributors, has kept a much higher profile since its surprising Grammy win in 2014, recently complemented by a second win in February. But it’s enjoying an “overnight success” that was a decade in the making.
First Listen: Snarky Puppy, 'Culcha Vulcha'
Published on: April 21, 2016
By: Patrick Jarenwattananon
High among the variously outstanding qualities of the band Snarky Puppy is its fecundity. This new music heard here isn't even the first Snarky record to come out this year — that would be the live album and concert film of collaborations called Family Dinner Vol. 2, released in February. Count back and you arrive at seven full-length releases in the last five years, 11 in total. Then there are the familial side projects (more of those to come this year, too), the international touring schedule of an improbably successful band, and the many other gigs to which any given member commits. Snarky Puppy is on its hustle.
At the center of this churn is bassist, chief composer and ringleader Michael League. Remarkably, he's herded such quantity from a many-human-ed band, one whose general largeness is also an aesthetic one. To the extent that Snarky Puppy has a core sonic idea, it's an intricate melody over a multifaceted groove, as generated by multiple horn players, multiple guitarists, multiple keyboardists and multiple percussionists. It gathers ideas openly and avidly from all over the world and throughout the Afro-American popular music continuum, blending freely. Few might have predicted that such a maximalist, stylistically unbound ensemble — an instrumental funk band on the precipice between intricate and noodly — could sustain itself beyond personal passion. Yet League and the band have grown a rabid fan base of depth and diversity: young and old, jazz people and laypeople, black, white, neither. A second Grammy Award arrived earlier this year.
This record happens to be called Culcha Vulcha; read approvingly, it acts as a general modus operandi. Snarky Puppy's very DNA is recombinant, first barking when League was a Led Zeppelin-obsessed bass student in the University of North Texas jazz program. Its finishing school was the gospel-church gigs and R&B production of nearby Dallas, where a deeper idiomatic negritude set in. Big ears fill in the rest. League recently explained toJazz Night In America that one of his most famous tunes, "Shofukan," was written in a Japanese cultural center in the Netherlands during Christmas, based on a misheard groove from Lebanon.
A more timely example: The record starts off with "Tarova," where South Asian percussion meets Southern amplitude; the effect comes off vaguely like go-go. The adverb "vaguely" arises often, really. An anguine, vaguely Brazilian melody defines the next tune, "Semente." "Gemini" feels vaguely Motown but slower, and with extra synth. "Grown Folks" is anchored by a vaguely New Orleans parade beat, and so on. To be clear, the vagaries aren't intended pejoratively, unless you want them to be; they're just signifying suggestions, elements to build upon. There's too much sincerity here to not take it seriously; a lot of virtuosos — particularly the many keyboard players — have fully committed to the one-nation-under-a-groove family.
It is everything and nothing, but it is certainly now a thing. Culcha Vulcha is Snarky Puppy's first true studio record in many years, with no studio audience or guest-star collaborators. Given their work ethic, it's hard to imagine that League and the "family" would commit such a document to tape haphazardly; it certainly sounds more post-produced than their typical live-to-tape recordings. The intentional nature of the project seems to surface something more at the core of their ethos. At very least,Culcha Vulcha is big, rich and funky — maybe that's enough.
By Jeff Miers
Published on March 31, 2016
It seems that everyone involved with Snarky Puppy is exploding with creativity that can’t be contained within one singular project. What’s amazing about all of this isn’t the fact that there’s so much of it, but rather, that all of it is so inspired, so worthwhile, so good.
When you catch Snarky Puppy in concert – which you’ll be able to do at the Town Ballroom on May 7 – you’ll catch a wave, more than merely hearing a band. And you’ll take inspiration from the fact that this band is reaching a primarily young audience, one full of eager musicians eager to pay it all forward.
Jazz collective Snarky Puppy will release their eleventh album and first true studio album in eight years on April 29 via GroundUP Music/Universal Music Classics. Dubbed Culcha Vulcha, the record finds the group visiting the remote Donic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, TX for a week, which spawned nine new tracks.
February 25, 20164:39 PM ET • The large instrumental band Snarky Puppy, which just won its second Grammy Award, is hard to pin down to one place. Its core is now in New York, but its members have toured and recorded all over the world, and their spiritual home is still Dallas, Texas. It's where they'd take in gospel performances in area churches; it's near where they initially met at music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. As bassist and bandleader Michael League explains, you can hear all those collisions in the pocket of their complex and beyond-category grooves. Snarky Puppy makes what it calls "music for the brain and booty" alike.
By NATE CHINEN
Published: FEB. 5, 2016
"...a barnstorming, groove-centric instrumental act with a rabid fan base and a blithely unplaceable style. And if the name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s probably just a matter of time.
Snarky Puppy, which won a recent Grammy and is up for another one this month, has carved out an improbably strong niche with its brand of revved-up jazz fusion. The group’s style, a convergence of high precision and whimsy, makes it a quintessential live band — even most of its studio albums were made with an audience in the room. The sessions are filmed, for release on DVD and YouTube, which is how the band’s audience ratcheted up to global scale. A D.I.Y. juggernaut, it has a new label — GroundUp, with international distribution through Universal Music Classics — that will release “Family Dinner Volume Two,” the group’s 10th album, on Friday, Feb. 12."
By Peter Quinn @MrPeterQuinn
Thursday, 04 February 2016
"With everything they touch seemingly transforming into artistic gold, shapeshifting US collective Snarky Puppy are currently on a roll. Following their 2014 Grammy win for Family Dinner Volume One, they’ve since chalked up ‘Best Jazz Group’ in the 2015 Downbeat Readers Poll, plus a Grammy nomination in the ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ category for last year’s Sylva. This purple patch looks set to continue with the arrival of Family Dinner Volume Two."
"Recorded live in New Orleans, this is an album of standouts in which the deluxe arrangements are respectful to the spirit of the original while casting them in a captivating new light. Coupled with trailblazing US guitarist Charlie Hunter, Peruvian vocalist Susana Baca paints a heart-rending picture in “Molino Moreno""
By: Benjamin Sorensen, Music Desk Editor
Published: January 31, 2016
“Family Dinner” is both a series of films from the recording studio and a how-it’s-made documentary about the artistic process behind each song. It also weaves together a thoughtful commentary on love and the lifting power of music through talking head interviews and unplugged musical interludes. It’s undergirded by a strong sense of community and giving, as proceeds from the album benefit the New Orleans based Roots of Music project to empower underprivileged youth.
The album is also entirely focused on its guests. Snarky Puppy’s hospitality creates a platform of musical and cultural exchange by bringing together guests from all over the world, coming from as far as Sweden and Peru (bandleader Michael League even brings his recording crew to a private island in Mali when his desired guest, Salif Keita, is unable to make the trip to the New Orleans studio).
Jacob Collier performing his unreleased composition, "Don't You Know." (Photograph by Stella K.)
Jacob Collier performing his unreleased composition, “Don’t You Know.” (Photograph by Stella K.)
There’s no requisite age, either. Before launching into his tear-jerking ballad, “Somebody Home,” 74-year-old David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) pokes fun at his fellow guest, 20-year-old Jacob Collier, by musing on what might happen to the wunderkind’s priorities “when the hormones kick in.” You see Michael League and the rest of the band laughing in the background, but Crosby, like all of the guests, is the star.
Currently 76 live Snarky Puppy concert recordings are available for streaming or downloading:
On November 18th 2011, Michael League granted permission on behalf of Snarky Puppy to host recordings on the Live Music Archive:
That sounds great!
Created on November 24, 2011
By Lynn Saxberg
Published: June 21, 2015
"As sad as it is to say, the Grammy helped us out a lot. We really feel every day that things are getting better. We’re making a little more money, playing to larger crowds, slightly more comfortable touring conditions. It’s kind of weird that it takes something like a Grammy for people to respect you on a large scale. Obviously winning an award doesn’t improve your band at all, it just improves the way people think of you. But we’re super grateful for all the beautiful things that have come as a result."
Snarky Puppy -- "Sylva" -- Complete Set of Videos from DVD:
1. Sinatra (Live) 3:32 | 2. Flight 6:02 | 3. Atchafalaya 6:04
4. The Curtain 15:09
5. Gretel (Live) 4:20
6. The Clearing 19:22
Snarky Puppy -- "We Like it Here" -- Complete Set of Videos from DVD
1. Shofukan 06:33
2. What About Me? 06:42
3. Sleeper 06:51
4. Jambone 05:07
5. Kite 06:12
6. Outlier 06:45
7. Tio Macaco 05:43
8. Lingus 10:45
By: Marcus J. Moore
Published: June 11
“The idea of recording with an orchestra was a dream I’ve always had,” League says. “It’s such a unique, homogenous sound ... I just want people to listen to something that inspires them ... I think it’s completely and utterly important to make people feel something when you create music.”