Snarky Puppy is a jazz ensemble led by bassist, composer, and producer Michael League. League once described Snarky Puppy as "a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals".
The band was formed by Michael League in Denton, Texas, in 2004 and comprises a changing membership of about 40 musicians who perform on guitar, bass, keyboards, woodwinds, brass, strings, drums, and percussion. Many band members were students at the University of North Texas. Individual members have performed with Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Kirk Franklin, Ari Hoenig, Roy Hargrove, David Crosby, and Snoop Dogg. While touring, the band frequently gives clinics, workshops, and master classes throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Snarky Puppy released their debut album, Live at Uncommon Ground (no longer available new), in 2005. Their first four albums were released independently, after which they licensed the albums Tell Your Friends, GroundUP, Family Dinner – Volume One, and We Like It Here to Ropeadope Records.
The album We Like It Here was performed and recorded live in October 2013 at the artistic compound Kytopia in Utrecht, Netherlands. It was released in February 2014, debuting at number one on the iTunes Jazz Charts.
On January 26, 2014, Snarky Puppy, with vocalist Lalah Hathaway, won a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Performance category for their rendition of the Brenda Russell song "Something" from Family Dinner - Volume 1.
Sylva (2015), a collaboration with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra on Impulse! Records, debuted on multiple Billboard charts, including number one on the Heatseekers Chart, number one Top Current Jazz Album, and number one Contemporary Jazz Album. In 2016, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
After winning their second Grammy, the group was signed to Universal Music Group's Universal Music Classics label. Their second release on the label, Culcha Vulcha won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album.
In 2016, Stanton and Letteri of Snarky Puppy contributed on Indonesian jazz singer Eva Celia's debut album, And So It Begins.
Awards and honors
- 2014: "Something", Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance
- 2015: Jazz Group of the Year, Down Beat Readers Poll
- 2016: Sylva, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
- 2017: Culcha Vulcha, Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album
- Live at Uncommon Ground (Sitmom, 2005)
- The Only Constant (Sitmom, 2006)
- The World Is Getting Smaller (Sitmom, 2007)
- Bring Us the Bright (Sitmom, 2008)
- Tell Your Friends (Ropeadope, 2010)
- groundUP (groundUP/Ropeadope, 2012)
- Amkeni w/ Bukuru Celestin (Ropeadope,2013)
- Family Dinner – Volume 1 (groundUp, Ropeadope, 2013)
- We Like It Here (Ropeadope, 2014)
- Sylva w/ Metropole Orkest (Impulse!, 2015)
- Family Dinner – Volume 2 (groundUp, Universal Music Classics, 2016)
- Culcha Vulcha (groundUp, Universal Music Classics, 2016)
Band members (partial list)
- Robert "Sput" Searight – drums
- Larnell Lewis – drums
- Jason "J T" Thomas – drums
- Nate Werth – percussion
- Marcelo Woloski – percussion
- Keita Ogawa – percussion
- Bobby Sparks – keyboards
- Caleb Sean – keyboards
- Shaun Martin – keyboards
- Cory Henry – keyboards, organ
- Bill Laurance – keyboards
- Chris McQueen – guitar, baritone guitar
- Bob Lanzetti – guitar
- Mark Lettieri – guitar, slide guitar
- Michael League – electric bass, keyboard bass, baritone guitar
- Justin Stanton – trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboards
- Mike "Maz" Maher – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Jay Jennings – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Andy Hunter - trombone
- Chris Bullock – tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet
- Bob Reynolds – tenor saxophone
- Zach Brock – violin
- "The Making Of Lalah Hathaway and Snarky Puppy's "Something"". The Recording Academy. March 3, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- Woodard, Josef (December 2015). "Thinking Person's Feel Good Music". Down Beat. Elmhurst, Illinois: Maher.
- "Snarky Puppy | Denton". Pegasusnews.com. 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
-  Archived June 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Jazz Articles: Snarky Puppy Reaches #1 on Multiple Billboard Charts with Sylva". jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of winners and nominees". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
- "Grammy Awards 2017: Complete Nominees and Winners List". American Media, Inc. February 13, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
- Arrizal, Decky (November 17, 2016). "'And So It Begins,' Album Penuh Cinta dari Eva Celia" (in Bahasa Indonesia). Rolling Stone Indonesia. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
- Official website
- Ropeadope blog entries for Snarky Puppy