Snarky Puppy is a Brooklyn-based jam band led by bassist Michael League. Snarky Puppy combines a variety of jazz idioms, rock, world music, and funk and has won three Grammy Awards. Although the band has worked with vocalists, League described Snarky Puppy as "a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals".
Snarky Puppy performing at Heineken Jazzaldia in 2016
|Origin||Denton, Texas, U.S.|
|Genres||jazz, funk, fusion, pop, rock, world|
The band was formed as a 10 piece "typical white, music school jazz band" by Michael League in Denton, Texas, during his first year at the University of North Texas, in 2004, “Because I was so bad,” he recalled, “I didn’t place into any of the school ensembles. So Snarky Puppy was my way of getting to play.” The group has grown into an international super-band made up of "...a wide-ranging assemblage of musicians known affectionately as "'The Fam"." In the 15 years since its founding, about 50 players have performed in "The Fam" on guitar, bass, keyboards, woodwinds, brass, strings, drums, and percussion, but six of the 10 charter members remain on the regular roster. Many past and present band members were students at the University of North Texas. 
Members have performed with Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Stanley Clarke, Kirk Franklin, Ari Hoenig, Roy Hargrove, David Crosby, and Snoop Dogg. While touring, the band has given clinics, workshops, and master classes in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and most members either lead or are primary players in other working recording bands.
Snarky Puppy released the debut album Live at Uncommon Ground in 2005. The band's first four albums were released independently, after which Tell Your Friends, groundUP, Family Dinner: Volume One, and We Like It Here were released by Ropeadope.
On January 26, 2014, Snarky Puppy and 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 debuted at number one on the Billboard magazine Heatseekers Chart, the Jazz Album chart, and the Contemporary Jazz Album chart. The album won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The album Culcha Vulcha (2016) won the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. On Friday 26th April, the band released the first bonus track from Immigrance.
Snarky Puppy is sometimes referred to as a "collective." The band's current roster boasts about 25 members, and well over 40 musicians have performed with the group over the years and through the group's 13 albums. Michael League explains that, in the early days of the original 10-piece band, if someone got an opportunity to earn more money than for the band's gig, "...we'd get a substitute and if the substitute played well, then it felt like, 'Well, they learned the music and played great, what a waste for them to learn all that that for one gig...' so we would kind of just keep them in the Rolodex, so to speak, and rotate them in and out. Then it became a thing where we started touring so much that guys couldn't do all the dates, or didn't want to, or whatever." When people came in, the differences in their playing would influence all those on the date. "That would change the way that they played the music. And then even when that new person left, that memory of that new relationship with the music would remain. So really we just kept building on the personalities of the new people that would come in, brick by brick. ...in general, the guys understand what the band is– a rotating cast... But I don't really think of Snarky Puppy as a collective. It's just a large band and sometimes people aren't there. It doesn't feel like a revolving door, it doesn't feel anonymous at all. The guys who have played gigs with us the least have still played several hundred gigs. That's more than most people play with their own bands. So it's very much a tight, familial unit. Everyone feels very, very close and very essential, also."
- Michael League – bass guitar, oud, percussion
- Jay Jennings – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Mike Maher – trumpet, flugelhorn
- Chris Bullock – tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, bansuri, percussion
- Bob Reynolds – tenor saxophone
- Zach Brock – violin
- Bill Laurance – piano, keyboards
- Shaun Martin – keyboards
- Bobby Sparks – keyboards
- Justin Stanton – keyboards, trumpet
- Bob Lanzetti – guitars
- Mark Lettieri – guitars
- Chris McQueen – guitars
- Larnell Lewis – drums
- Jamison Ross – drums
- Jason Thomas – drums
- Keita Ogawa – percussion
- Nate Werth – percussion
- Marcelo Woloski – percussion
Awards and honorsEdit
- 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance, "Something"
- 2014 Best Contemporary Group, Jazztimes Readers' Poll
- 2014 Best New Artist, Jazztimes Readers' Poll
- 2015 Best Contemporary Group, Jazztimes Critics' Poll
- 2015 Jazz Group of the Year, DownBeat Readers' Poll
- 2016 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Sylva
- 2016 Best Contemporary Group, Jazztimes Readers' Poll
- 2017 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, Culcha Vulcha
- 2017 Best Contemporary Group, Jazztimes Readers' Poll
- 2017 Jazz Group of the Year, DownBeat Readers' Poll
- 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, 2012)
- Amkeni with Bukuru Celestin (Ropeadope, 2013)
- Family Dinner – Volume 1 (Ropeadope, 2013)
- We Like It Here (Ropeadope, 2014)
- Sylva with Metropole Orkest (Impulse!, 2015)
- Family Dinner – Volume 2 (GroundUP, Universal Music Classics, 2016)
- Culcha Vulcha (GroundUP, 2016)
- Immigrance (GroundUP, 2019)
- "Snarky Puppy Biography by Matt Collar". AllMusic, member of the RhythmOne group. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "The Making of Lalah Hathaway and Snarky Puppy's "Something"". Grammy.com. March 3, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2015.
- Woodard, Josef (December 2015). "Thinking Person's Feel Good Music". Down Beat. Elmhurst, Illinois: Maher.
- "Snarky Puppy: A House Built on Solid Funk". NYTimes. 5 February 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- Chinen, Nate (5 February 2016). "Snarky Puppy: A House Built on Solid Funk". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Snarky Puppy | Denton". Pegasusnews.com. 2013-10-29. Archived from the original on 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
-  Archived June 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- "Snarky Puppy Reaches #1 on Multiple Billboard Charts with "Sylva"". JazzTimes. 3 June 2005. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "2016 Grammy Awards: Complete list of winners and nominees". The Los Angeles Times. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- Feiner, Abby (12 February 2017). "Grammys 2017: Complete Winners List". Us Weekly. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Snarky Puppy Shares 'Embossed' Single". JamBase. 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
- Arrizal, Decky (November 17, 2016). "'And So It Begins,' Album Penuh Cinta dari Eva Celia" (in Indonesian). Rolling Stone Indonesia. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
- "Michael League: Snarky Puppy's Jazz-Schooled, Grassroots Visionary". All About Jazz. December 10, 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
- "The last four years have brought dramatic changes for Snarky Puppy". groundup music. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
- "Immigrance liner notes" (PDF). groundup music. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.