Snarky Puppy – Roma – 5 settembre 2020
Snarky Puppy is a Brooklyn-based jam band led by bassist Michael League. Snarky Puppy combines a variety of jazz idioms, rock, world music, and funk and has won three Grammy Awards. Although the band has worked with vocalists, League described Snarky Puppy as "a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals".
The band was formed as a 10 piece "typical white, music school jazz band" by Michael League in Denton, Texas, during his first year at the University of North Texas, in 2004, “Because I was so bad,” he recalled, “I didn’t place into any of the school ensembles. So Snarky Puppy was my way of getting to play.” The group has grown into an international super-band made up of "...a wide-ranging assemblage of musicians known affectionately as "'The Fam"." In the 15 years since its founding, about 50 players have performed in "The Fam" on guitar, bass, keyboards, woodwinds, brass, strings, drums, and percussion, but six of the 10 members on the first studio album The Only Constant remain on the regular roster. Many past and present band members were students at the University of North Texas.
Members have performed with Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Stanley Clarke, Kirk Franklin, Ari Hoenig, Roy Hargrove, David Crosby, and Snoop Dogg. While touring, the band has given clinics, workshops, and master classes in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and most members either lead or are primary players in other working recording bands.
Snarky Puppy released the debut album Live at Uncommon Ground in 2005. The band's first four albums were released independently, after which Tell Your Friends, groundUP, Family Dinner: Volume One, and We Like It Here were released by Ropeadope.
The album We Like It Here was performed and recorded live in October 2013 at the artistic compound Kytopia in Utrecht, Netherlands.
On January 26, 2014, Snarky Puppy and vocalist Lalah Hathaway won a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Performance category for their rendition of the Brenda Russell song "Something" from Family Dinner – Volume 1. Sylva debuted at number one on the Billboard magazine Heatseekers Chart, the Jazz Album chart, and the Contemporary Jazz Album chart. The album won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The album Culcha Vulcha (2016) won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. On Friday 26th April, the band released the first bonus track from Immigrance.
In 2016, Justin Stanton and Mark Lettieri of Snarky Puppy contributed to Indonesian singer Eva Celia's debut album And So It Begins.
Snarky Puppy is sometimes referred to as a "collective." The band's current roster boasts about 25 members, and well over 40 musicians have performed with the group over the years and through the group's 13 albums. Michael League explains that, in the early days of the original 10-piece band, if someone got an opportunity to earn more money than for the band's gig, "...we'd get a substitute and if the substitute played well, then it felt like, 'Well, they learned the music and played great, what a waste for them to learn all that that for one gig...' so we would kind of just keep them in the Rolodex, so to speak, and rotate them in and out. Then it became a thing where we started touring so much that guys couldn't do all the dates, or didn't want to, or whatever." When people came in, the differences in their playing would influence all those on the date. "That would change the way that they played the music. And then even when that new person left, that memory of that new relationship with the music would remain. So really we just kept building on the personalities of the new people that would come in, brick by brick. ...in general, the guys understand what the band is– a rotating cast... But I don't really think of Snarky Puppy as a collective. It's just a large band and sometimes people aren't there. It doesn't feel like a revolving door, it doesn't feel anonymous at all. The guys who have played gigs with us the least have still played several hundred gigs. That's more than most people play with their own bands. So it's very much a tight, familial unit. Everyone feels very, very close and very essential, also."
Membership on the Immigrance album (2019)