Home » Jazz Musicians » Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy

The last four years have brought dramatic changes for Snarky Puppy.

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).

Tags

7
Live Review

Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater

Read "Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater" reviewed by Geoff Anderson


Snarky Puppy Ogden Theater Denver, Colorado September 30, 2023 Originality seems to be a guiding force for Snarky Puppy. That applies not just to the type of music they play in general, but it goes all the way down to preparation of set lists. Saturday night at the Ogden Theater, band leader, bassist and spokesman for the group, Michael League went out of his way to review with the audience past gigs in Denver and ...

2
Album Review

Snarky Puppy: Empire Central

Read "Empire Central" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


A diciotto anni dalla nascita, gli Snarky Puppy sono tornati a Dallas —luogo d'origine della formazione— per registrare un nuovo album scegliendo l'approccio preferito: quel “live in the studio" con pubblico in sala che ha caratterizzato le loro opere migliori. Quindi otto notti alla Deep Ellum Art Company per mettere a punto 16 nuovi brani, ora pubblicati in doppio album, in triplo vinile. Il disco privilegia il ritorno ai valori musicali originari: una fusion ...

17
Album Review

Snarky Puppy: Immigrance

Read "Immigrance" reviewed by Josh Deakin


Three years after their last release, Snarky Puppy's thirteenth studio album Immigrance makes a statement as a standard for jazz fusion that all modern artists should take note of. The opening track, “Chonks," sets the tone of the record with a fierce drum fill from Larnell Lewis which is reminiscent of reggae tones, an aesthetic which Snarky Puppy enjoy teasing on occasion. The record keeps pace as it weaves together the collection of songs which gives the illusion ...

10
Live Review

The GroundUp Music Festival 2019

Read "The GroundUp Music Festival 2019" reviewed by Mike Jacobs


GroundUp Music Festival 2019 North Beach Bandshell, Park Stage Miami Beach, FL February 8-10, 2019 An internet acquaintance has a running post gag that she labels with #BecauseFlorida. In it she basically puts forth all of the unattractive, wacky and head-scratching reports that come out of the Sunshine State. It IS funny (and seemingly never at a loss for material) but I suspect you could easily paint many a state as a ...

2
Live Review

Snarky Puppy al Roma Jazz Festival

Read "Snarky Puppy al Roma Jazz Festival" reviewed by Mario Calvitti


Snarky Puppy Roma Jazz Festival 2018 Cavea Auditorium 07.07.2018 Uno dei fiori all'occhiello di questa nuova edizione estiva del Roma Jazz Festival è sicuramente il concerto degli Snarky Puppy, unica data italiana nel breve tour europeo. Fin dalla loro fondazione nel 2005, il gruppo (ma sarebbe meglio definirlo un collettivo, vista la gran quantità e varietà dei musicisti che si alternano nella formazione) si è rapidamente imposto come il maggiore esponente della fusion jazzistica del ...

1
Live Review

Gli Snarky Puppy al Teatro dell'Arte di Milano

Read "Gli Snarky Puppy al Teatro dell'Arte di Milano" reviewed by Claudio Bonomi


Snarky Puppy La Triennale Teatro dell'Arte Milano 18.07.2016 Gli Snarky Puppy, collettivo post jazz originario del Texas carico ormai di Grammy Awards, premi e riconoscimenti di ogni livello e grado, è finalmente sbarcato a Milano raccogliendo applausi a ripetizione alla fine di una performance entusiasmante davanti a un pubblico che ha cantato, ballato, gioito e partecipato per quasi tutte le due ore filate del concerto. Nel capoluogo lombardo si sono presentati in ...

6
Live Review

Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater

Read "Snarky Puppy at the Ogden Theater" reviewed by Geoff Anderson


Snarky Puppy Ogden Theater Denver, CO May 24, 2016 The Snarky Puppy website describes the group as a “quasi-collective." Indeed, an organization that numbers perhaps as many as three dozen doesn't really fit the traditional definition of a “band." Thirty six members? That almost sounds like an orchestra. Well, they don't all play together at the same time. It's more like a rotating cast of characters (or musicians). Their latest album, Culcha Vulcha (Ground Up ...

Read more articles
3

Festival

Groundup Music Festival Reveals Artist Brunches, Cocktails And Workshops

Groundup Music Festival Reveals Artist Brunches, Cocktails And Workshops

Source: All About Jazz

Acclaimed by the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Definitive Moments of the Decade in Jazz Music,” the GroundUP Music Festival returns to the oceanside North Beach Bandshell in sunny Miami Beach, Florida, February 14-16, 2020. Hosted by three-time Grammy award-winning collective Snarky Puppy, GroundUP has announced the schedule for their intimate cocktails and brunches with the artists including a rare Snarky Puppy acoustic set, an unplugged collaboration between female powerhouses Lila Downs and Flor de Toloache, ...

Video / DVD

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Snarky Puppy's eclectic collective

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Snarky Puppy's eclectic collective

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, it's time to check out some videos of jazz/funk/world/fusion band Snarky Puppy, who will be returning to St. Louis to perform Sunday, May 19 at Atomic Cowboy's outdoor pavilion. Sometimes described as “a loose collective" under the leadership of bassist and founder Michael League, with a lineup that can range in size from seven or eight musicians up to 25, Snarky Puppy draws on an eclectic mix of influences- most notably jazz and funk, but also a variety ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz this week: Pat Martino, Snarky Puppy, a tribute to Mae Wheeler, and more

Jazz this week: Pat Martino, Snarky Puppy, a tribute to Mae Wheeler, and more

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week's notable jazz and creative music shows in St. Louis include return appearances from a top guitarist and one of the hottest young bands in jazz, plus a rare visit from some prog-rock veterans and a tribute to a fondly remembered local vocalist and mentor. Let's go to the highlights... Wednesday, May 11 Guitarist Pat Martino returns to St. Louis for the first of four nights continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Martino's guitar/organ/drums trio continues to ...

1

Festival

Jazz This Week: Joe McPhee and Survival Unit III, Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, Snarky Puppy, and More

Jazz This Week: Joe McPhee and Survival Unit III, Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, Snarky Puppy, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

It should be another good weekend to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with several free shows featuring local performers, plus a couple of noteworthy touring acts coming to town. Let's go to the highlights... Tonight, there are a couple of free concerts, as guitarist Vincent Varvel plays for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, and trumpeter/singer Dawn Weber performs as part of the “Not So Quiet" concert series at the ...

1

Event

Jazz Arts Group Of Columbus Welcomes Snarky Puppy - Fri. Sept. 6

Jazz Arts Group Of Columbus Welcomes Snarky Puppy - Fri. Sept. 6

Source: Scott Vezdos

Columbus, OH – The Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series opens its 2013-14 season on Friday, September 6 at the historic Lincoln Theatre with the avant-garde funk jazz of the Dallas/New York City musician collective Snarky Puppy. With the release of their live, 2-disc album/DVD Tell Your Friends (Ropeadope Records), Snarky Puppy has gone from an underground secret to one of the most internationally respected names in instrumental music. The 3-time Dallas Observer Music Award-winning group ("Best Jazz Act" 2008, ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Snarky Puppy, a Tribute to Marvin Gaye, Route 66 Jazz Orchestra, Don Schroeder's Happy Go Lucky Jazz Band, and More

Jazz This Week: Snarky Puppy, a Tribute to Marvin Gaye, Route 66 Jazz Orchestra, Don Schroeder's Happy Go Lucky Jazz Band, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

Though the “dog days" of summer have arrived in St. Louis so far mostly without the traditional blistering heat and soupy humidity, they still bring the usual annual slowdown in the number of touring jazz musicians passing through St. Louis. However, there's still live jazz and creative music out there to be found all over the area - if you know where to look. And so, let's go to the highlights...  Tonight, Good 4 The Soul will back singer Brian ...

Performance / Tour

Snarky Puppy Returning to Old Rock House on Friday, August 9

Snarky Puppy Returning to Old Rock House on Friday, August 9

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

From the Dept of “Well, That Didn't Take Long": Snarky Puppy (pictured), who just played in St. Louis earlier this month at The Demo, already have booked a return trip in the form of a gig at 8:30 p.m. Friday, August 9 at the Old Rock House. This will be the the third St. Louis appearance in the last 12 months for the Texas-born, now Brooklyn-based funk/jazz/world music ensemble  (who, incidentally, were featured on StLJN in a Saturday video post ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Lionel Loueke, Snarky Puppy, Trinity Piano Trio, Denise Thimes, and More

Jazz This Week: Lionel Loueke, Snarky Puppy, Trinity Piano Trio, Denise Thimes, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

From Africa to outer space to New Orleans to NYC and beyond, this week's menu of upcoming live performances in St. Louis reflects the wide variety of influences in jazz and creative music today. Let's go the highlights: Tonight, guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke opens a four-night gig at Jazz at the Bistro. The Benin-born, Berklee-educated guitarist and singer has played in St. Louis before as a sideman with Herbie Hancock, but this will be his local debut as a ...

Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Snarky Puppy Sampler

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Snarky Puppy Sampler

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, let's take a look at some clips featuring Snarky Puppy, the Texas-born, Brooklyn-based funk/jazz/world music band who are coming back to St. Louis to perform this coming Thursday, May 9 at The Demo. Three-time winners of “Best Jazz Act" in the the Dallas Observer's Music Awards, Snarky Puppy is a loosely structured collective led by bassist Michael League and made up primarily of musicians who studied in the jazz program at the University of North Texas in Denton. ...

1

Performance / Tour

Snarky Puppy Returning for Performance on Thursday, May 9 at the Demo

Snarky Puppy Returning for Performance on Thursday, May 9 at the Demo

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

The Texas-based funk/jazz/world music band Snarky Puppy is coming back to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at The Demo. (The Demo is the new venue at 4144 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood, next to Atomic Cowboy, that's being programmed jointly by the music bookers from Lola and the Firebird. At this writing, the club's website linked above is just a placeholder; their Facebook page has a little more information.) Three-time winners of “Best Jazz Act" ...

"Their sound is entirely unclassifiable, yet always seems to strike some chord within. It’s part jazz, part funk, part rock, part jam… It will make your brain churn and your booty shake..." —Chicago Jam Scene

"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

Laila Biali
piano and vocals
Myles Brown
guitar
Velocity
band / ensemble / orchestra
Alex Hahn
saxophone, alto
Safety Squad
synthesizer
Seba Molnar
saxophone, tenor
Song Dynasty
band / ensemble / orchestra
Wack Cheddar
band / ensemble / orchestra
Minus2
keyboards
Jack Taylor
guitar
Jacques Bailhé
keyboards
Simeon Nathanael Davis
composer / conductor
Ronald Wayne
multi-instrumentalist
Wide-Eyed Lounge Cats
band / ensemble / orchestra
Swart Waling Koolhaas
band / ensemble / orchestra
Bonzo Squad
band / ensemble / orchestra
Last Ark Out
band / ensemble / orchestra

Photos

Concerts

Sep 28 Sat
Feb 14 Fri

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Empire Central

GroundUP Music
2022

buy

Immigrance

GroundUP Music
2019

buy

Family Dinner Vol. 2

Ground Up Music
2016

buy

Culcha Vulcha

Ground Up Music
2016

buy

Sylva

Impulse! Records
2015

buy

Bent Nails

From: Ground UP
By Snarky Puppy

Videos

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.