Sunday, April 2 / 6:00 p.m.
Santander Performing Arts Center
WDIY NPR 88.1 FM presents
Tickets: $49 (Reserved Seating)
Snarky Puppy is an improbably successful maximalist, stylistically unbound instrumental funk band that has won three Grammy Awards, the latest the 2017 Grammy for Culcha Vulcha in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.
Bassist, chief composer and ringleader Michael League shepherds a shifting collection of three-dozen musicians, referred to as The Fam,” who play a variety of instruments including guitar, piano, keyboard, woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.
Crossing several genres of music, League describes Snarky Puppy as “a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals.”
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.
Snarky Puppy has grown a rabid fan base of depth and diversity: young and old, jazz people and lay people, black and white.
With every new projects and with every show they play, Snarky Puppy hopes to do something it’s never done before.
The prolific group released two albums in 2016.
Family Dinner, Volume 2 is an eclectic, unclassifiable jazz/funk/global collective recorded live in New Orleans that features an astonishing list of musicians from around the world, including Susana Baca, Charlie Hunter, Salif Keita, Laura Mvula, David Crosby, and an all-star group of Big Easy players including Ivan Neville and Terence Blanchard.
The band then released its Culcha Vulcha album, it’s first true studio record in many years with no studio audience or guest star collaborators. Returning to its roots as an instrumental ensemble, the group spent a week in the middle of a pecan orchard at the remote sonic Ranch Studios in Tomillo, Texas, just a five-minute walk from the Mexican border.
With no cameras, no audience, and the opportunity to overdub, they crafted an album much darker and moodier than any before it. The typical flash and bombastic moments that Snarky Puppy is known for have been replaced by a more patient, restrained, and sonically creative approach to both composition and performance.