Well known for his tight, aggressively grooving brand of rhythm playing, whether in the service of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Snarky Puppy, the Fearless Flyers or on his six solo albums, guitarist Mark Lettieri has found the perfect algorithm for the funk. Merging the influences of ‘70s and ‘80s rhythm and rock guitar icons like Prince and Eddie Van Halen, along with wide inspiration from George Clinton and P-Funk, Chuckii Booker, Periphery, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, and others. This Fort Worth, Texas resident has been insinuating his razor-sharp licks into the consciousness of funkateers since joining Snarky Puppy in 2008.
Following a series of successful solo albums — 2011’s Knows, 2013’s Futurefun and 2016’s Spark and Echo — Lettieri began showing an affinity for the dark depths of baritone guitar in his popular social media video series, “Baritone Funk Thursday.” That online series led to his 2019 manifesto, Deep: The Baritone Sessions, a seven-song EP that featured contributions from fellow Snarky Puppy members Bobby Sparks and Justin Stanton on keyboards and Jason “JT” Thomas on drums, along with Funky Knuckles bassist Wes Stephenson and former Prince trumpeter Philip Lassiter. That same crew is back for Deep: The Baritone Sessions, Vol. 2, a full-length LP that showcases the breadth and depth of Lettieri’s nasty, low-end brand of funk.
Created during the pandemic, Deep: The Baritone Sessions Vol. 2 is a triumph of ingenuity built upon Lettieri’s life-long love of funk and rock. Within each album of the baritone series Mark develops a theme. For Deep: The Baritone Sessions, he descended to the bottom of the ocean, with each song named for a certain species of deep sea fish. For Deep: The Baritone Sessions Vol. 2, Lettieri traveled into outer space, titling the songs after different celestial phenomena.