CLEARWATER — Snarky Puppy will perform Thursday, Sept. 26, 8 p.m., at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater.
Tickets start at $33.25. Call 727-791-7400 or visit www.rutheckerdhall.com.
The three-time Grammy Award-winners are on a U.S. tour in support of “Immigrance,” their latest album. The genre-defying collective was founded by bassist and primary composer Michael League in 2003. Like the band’s 2016 Grammy-winning “Culcha Vulcha” album, their newest release 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 rawer and moodier than its predecessor.
After a decade of relentless touring and recording, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. However, Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band, as the category names for all three of the band’s Grammy Awards would indicate. Their awards include Best R&B Performance in 2014, and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016 and 2017.
Snarky Puppy is a collective of sorts with as many as 25 members in regular rotation. They each maintain busy schedules as sidemen with such artists as Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg and D’Angelo; producers for the likes of Kirk Franklin, David Crosby and Salif Keïta; and solo artists — many of whom are on the band’s indy label, GroundUP Music.
At its core, the band represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world. Japan, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico all have representation in the group’s membership.
Snarky Puppy began inconspicuously enough as a group of college friends at the University of North Texas’ Jazz Studies program. Three years later, a serendipitous intersection with the Dallas gospel and R&B community transformed the music into something funkier, more direct and visceral. It was at this time that the group absorbed a number of musicians such as Robert “Sput” Searight on drums, Shaun Martin on keyboards, and Bobby Sparks on keyboards. Snarky Puppy also was heavily influenced by legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright.