After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all three of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016 and 2017), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”
Snarky Puppy is a collective of sorts with as many as 25 members in regular rotation. They each maintain busy schedules as sidemen (with such artists as Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and D’Angelo), producers (for Kirk Franklin, David Crosby, and Salif Keïta), and solo artists (many of whom are on the band’s indy label, GroundUP Music). At its core, the band represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world. Japan, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico all have representation in the group’s membership. But more than the cultural diversity of the individual players, the defining characteristic of Snarky Puppy’s music is the joy of performing together in the perpetual push to grow creatively.
The band was formed by bassist and primary composer Michael League in 2003, starting inconspicuously enough as a group of college friends at the University of North Texas’ Jazz Studies program. Three years later, a serendipitous intersection with the Dallas gospel and R&B community in Dallas transformed the music into something funkier, more direct, and more visceral. It was at this time that the group absorbed musicians like Robert “Sput” Searight (drums), Shaun Martin (keyboards), and Bobby Sparks (keyboards), and were heavily influenced by legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright (Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller).
Catching Up With
- Snarky Puppy at the Electric Factory
- Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater
- Gli Snarky Puppy al Teatro dell'Arte di Milano
- Snarky Puppy al Roma Jazz Festival
- The GroundUp Music Festival 2019
- Immigrance by Josh Deakin
- Empire Central by Angelo Leonardi
January 10, 2020
Groundup Music Festival Reveals Artist Brunches, Cocktails And Workshops
May 11, 2019
StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Snarky Puppy's eclectic collective
May 11, 2016
Jazz this week: Pat Martino, Snarky Puppy, a tribute to Mae Wheeler,...
September 19, 2014
Jazz This Week: Joe McPhee and Survival Unit III, Old Webster Jazz and...
August 08, 2013
Jazz Arts Group Of Columbus Welcomes Snarky Puppy - Fri. Sept. 6
August 08, 2013
Jazz This Week: Snarky Puppy, a Tribute to Marvin Gaye, Route 66 Jazz...
May 22, 2013
Snarky Puppy Returning to Old Rock House on Friday, August 9
May 08, 2013
Jazz This Week: Lionel Loueke, Snarky Puppy, Trinity Piano Trio, Denise...
May 05, 2013
STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Snarky Puppy Sampler
January 30, 2013
Snarky Puppy Returning for Performance on Thursday, May 9 at the Demo
"I've never heard a sound like this. It's what music should be." —Musiq Soulchild
"...an exultant throwdown of smart danceability." —The Village Voice
Snarky PuppyTeatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo
Snarky PuppyFronton Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Snarky PuppyHult Center For The Performing Arts
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
Family Dinner Vol. 2
Ground Up Music
Ground Up Music