Energetic jazz, soul and funk of the highest order: those familiar with the American jazz/funk collective surrounding band leader and bassist Michael League will know Snarky Puppy to be highly resourceful. In recent times, the band has been working on unique, unamplified arrangements of songs from their entire repertoire, which previously – in their original form – earned them several Grammy Awards. For those interested in learning what exactly goes into arranging for an entirely acoustic line-up, there is the online masterclass by the band entirely devoted to the art of acoustic: how do you go about this as an arranger and band leader, especially when normally you make distinctively dynamic compositions in which every electronic tool is used, from amplifiers and studio techniques to synthesisers and effects? The charismatic League will share his musicality, expertise and infectious enthusiasm in a way that makes this masterclass a must, even for non-musicians.
By his own admission, his bass playing was too poor to be allowed into the official school band. During his first year studying jazz at the University of North Texas, the composer and multi-instrumentalist Michael League (1984) decided to start his own group instead: Snarky Puppy was born.
What started as a group of ten school friends in 2004 went on to become one of the leading bands in the jazz world and beyond. Snarky Puppy cover a lot of different styles, as demonstrated by their Grammy Award for best R&B Performance (2014).
Rather than a band, the Puppies see themselves as a music collective that comprises some 25 regular members. They all have their own busy careers apart from Snarky Puppy, whether solo or accompanying well-known artists like Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Kirk Franklin, David Crosby, Snoop Dogg and D’Angelo.
Several of the thirteen albums Snarky Puppy released since Live at Uncommon Ground (2005) received awards. Sylva and Culcha Vulcha, for example, won a Grammy for best instrumental album in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Snarky Puppy represent an exciting fusion of both black and white American music culture. Jazz, rock, funk, and soul are all part of this international group’s musical DNA. America, Japan, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico are all represented in the collective. However, more than by the individual players’ cultural diversity, Snarky Puppy are characterised by the infectious joy of their live performances, and by their constant urge to grow creatively.