Reviewed by Lory Martinez
Grammy Award-winning jazz fusion/rhythm and blues group Snarky Puppy came to Binghamton University’s Anderson Center this past Thursday(March 13) and brought audience members to their feet in praise of the band’s irreproducible progressive jazz tunes.
Band leader Michael League introduced the group, which can only be described as a menagerie of different talents: the eight touring members present at the concert form part of a 40-member jazz collective that League calls “The Fam” (for family). Together, the bassists, drummers, flutists, guitarists, trumpeters, electric piano players and synthesizer manipulators create great music and have fun while they’re at it. And that’s just what happened in the Chamber Hall of the Anderson Center.
Even after releasing nine live-in-studio albums, the group maintains a sort of improvisational format, one that makes each performance of their songs unique and special. Even if you know the songs by heart, the chord progressions never cease to surprise listeners, who stood up more than once in praise of the solo talents of Shaun Martin and Robert “Sput” Searight, both Grammy Award winners in their own right.
From the crowd favorite “Skate U” to the almost other-worldly “Shofukan,” Snarky Puppy had audiences head bobbing to the beat. Some folks even got up to dance after a while. With audience participation bits (at one point, League had the audience clap in seven-beat-time) and sing-a-longs, “The Fam” definitely delivered.
Snarky Puppy’s latest album, We Like It Here, can be found on itunes.