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Biography

“Maybe you didn’t notice, but this is Snarky Puppy’s world, and the rest of us only live in it."
– The New York Times


The last four years have brought dramatic changes for Snarky Puppy.


After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, 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. But as the category names for all three of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016 and 2017), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”

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 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. But more than the cultural diversity of the individual players, the defining characteristic of Snarky Puppy’s music is the joy of performing together in the perpetual push to grow creatively.

The band was formed by bassist and primary composer Michael League in 2003, starting 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 in Dallas transformed the music into something funkier, more direct, and more visceral. It was at this time that the group absorbed musicians like Robert “Sput” Searight (drums), Shaun Martin (keyboards), and Bobby Sparks (keyboards), and were heavily influenced by legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright (Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller).

Album Streams

Immigrance (2019)
  • 1

    Chonks

    8:32
  • 2

    Bigly Strictness

    7:37
  • 3

    Coven

    6:38
  • 4

    Bling Bling

    5:55
  • 5

    Xavi

    9:31
  • 6

    While We're Young

    2:41
  • 7

    Bad Kids To The Back

    5:45
  • 8

    Even Us

    7:43
  • (Select a track)
Culcha Vulcha (2016)
  • 1

    Tarova

    3:39
  • 2

    Semente

    7:11
  • 3

    Gemini

    5:15
  • 4

    Grown Folks

    7:57
  • 5

    Beep Box

    4:01
  • 6

    8:53
  • 7

    The Simple Life

    4:01
  • 8

    Palermo

    6:37
  • 9

    The Big Ugly

    9:09
  • (Select a track)
Family Dinner, Vol. 2 (2016)
  • 1

    I Asked (featuring Becca Stevens & Väsen)

    6:54
  • 2

    Molino Molero (featuring Susana Baca & Charlie Hunter)

    5:30
  • 3

    Liquid Love (featuring Chris Turner)

    6:36
  • 4

    Soro (Afriki) (featuring Salif Keita, Carlos Malta, & Bernardo Aguiar)

    8:17
  • 5

    Sing to the Moon (featuring Laura Mvula & Michelle Willis)

    5:51
  • 6

    Don't You Know (featuring Jacob Collier & Big Ed Lee)

    10:44
  • 7

    I Remember (featuring Knower & Jeff Coffin)

    6:34
  • 8

    Somebody Home (featuring David Crosby)

    6:30
  • 9

    Be Still (feat. Becca Stevens & Väsen)

    4:32
  • 10

    Fuego Y Agua (feat. Susana Baca)

    5:35
  • 11

    Shapons Vindaloo (feat. Väsen)

    8:03
  • 12

    One Hope (feat. KNOWER)

    3:30
  • 13

    Brother, I'm Hungry (feat. Nigel Hall & NOLA International)

    8:35
  • (Select a track)
Sylva (2015)
  • 1

    Sintra

    3:32
  • 2

    Flight

    6:03
  • 3

    Atchafalaya

    6:04
  • 4

    The Curtain

    15:09
  • 5

    Gretel

    4:21
  • 6

    The Clearing

    19:23
  • (Select a track)
We Like It Here (2014)
  • 1

    Shofukan

    6:33
  • 2

    What About Me?

    6:42
  • 3

    Sleeper

    6:51
  • 4

    Jambone

    5:07
  • 5

    Kite

    6:12
  • 6

    Outlier

    6:45
  • 7

    Tio Macaco

    5:43
  • 8

    Lingus

    10:45
  • (Select a track)
Family Dinner, Vol. 1 (2013)
  • 1

    Free Your Dreams

    4:46
    Chantae Cann
  • 2

    Gone Under

    5:46
    Shayna Steele
  • 3

    Deep

    5:13
    N'Dambi
  • 4

    Amour, T'es La?

    4:22
    Magda Giannikou
  • 5

    Something

    7:35
    Lalah Hathaway
  • 6

    Too Hot To Last

    4:44
    Lucy Woodward
  • 7

    Turned Away

    7:22
    Tony Scherr
  • 8

    I'm Not The One

    5:16
    Malika Tirolien
  • (Select a track)
Amkeni (2013)
  • 1

    Ndagukunda

    5:13
  • 2

    Shima

    4:08
  • 3

    Nyabugingo

    5:01
  • 4

    Amkeni

    7:55
  • 5

    Ntumbero

    4:16
  • 6

    Muzogezahe

    6:35
  • (Select a track)
groundUP (2012)
  • 1

    Thing of Gold

    6:25
  • 2

    Bent Nails

    5:02
  • 3

    Minjor

    5:24
  • 4

    Binky

    9:38
  • 5

    Mr. Montauk

    5:53
  • 6

    Like A Light

    4:47
  • 7

    Young Stuff

    9:02
  • 8

    Quarter Master

    8:45
  • (Select a track)
Tell Your Friends (2010)
  • 1

    Whitecap

    8:28
  • 2

    Flood

    9:09
  • 3

    The Good Man Deliver and The Best Is Blessed

    7:20
  • 4

    Skate U

    6:54
  • 5

    Slow Demon

    8:06
  • 6

    Ready Wednesday

    9:04
  • (Select a track)
Bring Us The Bright (2008)
  • 1

    Bring Us The Bright

    6:36
  • 2

    Loose Screws

    4:19
  • 3

    Strawman

    8:27
  • 4

    34 Klezma

    6:13
  • 5

    Strange Dream

    5:21
  • 6

    Celebrity

    6:27
  • 7

    Making The Circle

    6:47
  • 8

    And Soon We'll Be One

    4:50
  • (Select a track)
The World Is Getting Smaller (2007)
  • 1

    Native Sons

    8:54
  • 2

    Intelligent Design

    8:26
  • 3

    Alma

    8:15
  • 4

    Thorn

    5:34
  • 5

    The World Is Getting Smaller

    5:55
  • 6

    Briar

    8:20
  • 7

    Phoebus

    6:47
  • 8

    Fair Play

    7:15
  • (Select a track)
The Only Constant (2006)
  • 1

    Open Forum

    10:34
  • 2

    Hot & Bothered

    8:36
  • 3

    Precipice

    8:45
  • 4

    Revisited

    7:51
  • 5

    Oblongata

    8:20
  • (Select a track)

Photos

All photos by Stella K.

Snarky Puppy at the GroundUP Music Festival, 2019

Snarky Puppy at the GroundUP Music Festival, 2019
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Snarky Puppy at the GroundUP Music Festival, 2019

Snarky Puppy at the GroundUP Music Festival, 2019
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Snarky Puppy 2018 Press Photo

Snarky Puppy 2018 Press Photo
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Snarky Puppy in El Paso, Texas, during the recording of <i>Immigrance</i>

Snarky Puppy in El Paso, Texas, during the recording of Immigrance
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Snarky Puppy in El Paso, Texas, during the recording of <i>Immigrance</i>

Snarky Puppy in El Paso, Texas, during the recording of Immigrance
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Snarky Puppy playing at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL

Snarky Puppy playing at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL
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Snarky Puppy playing at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL

Snarky Puppy playing at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL
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Michael League at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL

Michael League at GroundUP Music Festival 2018 in Miami, FL
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