Rising from pretty much obscurity, this two-time Grammy award-winning band from Texas/New York have built up a large cult following in the UK with the sell out crowd at Cardiff’s Tramshed physical evidence that this musical collective can pack them in with their unique brand of jazz, funk, soul, you name it, Snarky Puppy have it, with plenty to spare.
Formed by the amiable bassist and composer Michael League and with as many as 25 members in regular rotation the cultural diversity of band members clearly shows in their performances, thriving on their influences, adapting, developing and occasionally ‘borrowing’ from some of the great artists they have the pleasure of hearing and playing with.
The musicianship is simply breathtaking and whether it be a latin-tinged number or the hard rhythmic bite of their soul-infused funk, there is always a band member who will step up and raise proceedings with a blistering solo or subtle change of pace and direction.
Opening with the gentle Palermo that relied heavily on their very talented trumpet player Maz Maher, it was great preparation for what was to come as they kicked on with the upbeat GØ and the slow, driving Gemini.
With the nine-piece band in full swing, the Brazilian-sounding Semente was a joy to hear whilst the edgy Young Stuff and the meandering Big Ugly with scintillating guitar work from Chris McQueen, interspersed with the punchy brass section created a steady groove that got the Tramshed crowd bouncing off the walls.
With their fans bellowing for more, the band quickly returned for a very percussive version of fan-favourite Shotukan and the very cool jazz-funk of What About Me to bring the evening to a raucous end and with the band and fans alike looking extremely pleased with Snarky Puppy’s first visit to Wales.