Snarky Puppy, the genre-defying super-band, is a lot like Dallas, city of its birth. On Empire Central the eclectic 19-piece electric ensemble is big and bold, chill and laid back, rooted in its native culture while reaching outward, forward-bound. With 16 new compositions including the song “Take It!” -- regrettably, the last recorded performance of ‘80s funk star Bernard Wright, who Snarky ringleader Michael League identifies as a Godfather-like figure – the group looks fondly at where it’s come from, confident in the polished power from which its members continue to build the unique Snarky Puppy sound.
The original version of Tell Your Friends was released in 2010, almost ten years from the date of this, its re-release. It was Snarky Puppy's first foray into recording and filming in-studio live albums, leading to the band's first global impression and YouTube sensations. And while this recording was especially tumultuous, it was largely held together by our new engineer, Eric Hartman. He had engineered a good amount of and helped mix our previous album, Bring Us the Bright, but this was his first time in the driver's seat with us. Between borrowed equipment, a hilariously low budget (four figures), and a band that had never done anything like this before, the session was a complete mess. Over the three days we were there, no one saw him sleep until after the last performance. He was fully clothed, under the recording desk.
In 2012, Snarky Puppy booked their first European tour through Facebook posts, begging people to help find a bar they could play in. Years later, on November 14th, 2019, Snarky Puppy recorded their sold-out show from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, which will be their first official live release in almost 4 years. Featuring an extended line-up of 15 out of their 18 regular members, the record includes many tracks from their recent studio album, Immigrance. Live at the Royal Albert Hall captures an interesting mix of new and old songs, illustrating their musical and artistic progression over the years.
Immigrance, the new Snarky Puppy studio album, is all about movement. “The idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving and that we’re all in a constant state of immigration,” explains Michael League. “Obviously the album’s title is not without political undertones.”
Like Culcha Vulcha, Immigrance is a studio project, and it features most of the same musicians. And though it shares that project’s ace musicianship and dynamic, kinetic spirit, it is also more raw and moodier than its predecessor. Several of the compositions put a newfound emphasis on delivering simpler, streamlined impact. With Immigrance, Snarky Puppy is essentially practicing what it’s preached all along: People from different places can bring their various strengths and experiences, and that can be beautiful and cohesive. The band itself is a representation of that musical expression.
Fresh off of the heels of its tenth album, Family Dinner - Volume Two, the band is returning to its roots as an instrumental ensemble with a brand new collection of nine original songs. With no cameras, no audience, and the opportunity to overdub, they have 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. The melodies are intricate, the counterpoint is fluid, and groove reigns supreme in mixes that are bass and percussion-heavy. Released April 2016.
In February of 2015, Grammy Award-winning band Snarky Puppy recorded Family Dinner Volume Two in front of a live studio audience with guest instrumentalists and vocalists from all over the world. A companion piece to the monumental album, this documentary/concert-film features exclusive candid interviews and acoustic performances from the guest artists. The project is a true testament for showing first-hand how music can be a bridge between diverse cultures from countries from all over the world to create a unifying musical statement for the average listener or the devout music-connoisseur. Released February 2016.
Recorded live in early 2015, Sylva is a noted creative departure for Snarky Puppy, and marks their first collaboration with an orchestra - namely Holland's The Metropole Orkest. Released May 2015.
From the moment Snarky Puppy played its first overseas show to a sold-out London crowd, they felt at home in Europe. Recorded and filmed live with a studio audience over 4 nights in the Netherlands, 'We Like It Here' captures the band at its most explorative point in its career, in both composition and improvisation. The film DVD also contains over an hour of interviews, behind the scenes tour footage in Europe, and alternate solo takes from the recording sessions.
Inspired by a music series that the band runs in New York City, Family Dinner - Volume One is a live DVD featuring 8 different vocalists with Snarky Puppy as the backing band. Genre morphs from track to track with performances by Lalah Hathaway, Lucy Woodward, N'Dambi, Magda Giannikou, Shayna Steele, Chantae Cann, Tony Scherr, and Malika Tirolien. The album was recorded and filmed in the beautiful Shaftman Performance Hall at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA in March 2013.
A collaboration between Snarky Puppy and the young Burundian refugee Bukuru Celestin. Made by possible by a grant from Chamber Music America, Amkeni fuses traditional central African music with the band's unique take on Bukuru's songs. It was recorded in February 2013 at the Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA.
"groundUP" was filmed and recorded live over 3 nights in legendary bassist Matt Garrison's new Brooklyn performance space, Shapeshifter Lab, in front of a 40-person studio audience. Similar to the setting of their last live album/DVD, "Tell Your Friends" (Ropeadope Records, 2010), the project captures the rawness and spontaneity of Snarky Puppy's live energy, but this time in a stripped-down Brooklyn warehouse.
The first of Snarky Puppy's live, in-studio DVD/albums, "Tell Your Friends" was filmed and recorded in one night at the cozy swamp-set Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana, and is the band's debut release on Ropeadope Records. It marks the first recorded appearance of Grammy Award-winner Shaun Martin on organ and Moog, and a live 30-person studio audience.
Snarky Puppy's third studio album is the first recording of the band after it melded with the Dallas music community. Featuring keyboardists Bernard Wright and Bobby Sparks as well as drummer/keyboardist Robert "Sput" Searight, Bring Us the Bright is a noticeable departure into a brand new landscape of grooves and textures. It was recorded in Dallas, TX in April 2008 and mixed by Chris Godbey (Timbaland).
The second studio album from Snarky Puppy, The World is Getting Smaller features two live drummers (Rob Avsharian and Steve Pruitt) panned left and right (as well as a guest appearance from master percussionist Jose Aponté), and marks a compositional departure from The Only Constant. It was recorded as most of the band was leaving college at the University of North Texas in 2007.
Here's where it all started! Made all the way back in 2005 and released in '06, The Only Constant is a snapshot of the band in its infancy as students at the University of North Texas. It features 5 very, very different tracks by Michael League and has a more open and acoustic sound than any other of Snarky Puppy's albums.