Culcha Vulcha (GroundUp Music)

Snarky Puppy

Released April 29, 2016

The Guardian Highest Rated Jazz Albums of All Time

Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album 2017




Fresh off of the heels of its tenth album, Family Dinner – Volume Two, the band is returning to its roots as an instrumental ensemble with a brand new collection of nine original songs. A departure from its signature live-from-the-studio film and audio style, the band spent a week in the middle of a pecan orchard at the remote Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas, just a five minute walk from the Mexican border. With no cameras, no audience, and the opportunity to overdub, they have crafted an album much darker and moodier than any before it. The typical flash and bombastic moments that Snarky Puppy is known for have been replaced by a more patient, restrained, and sonically creative approach to both composition and performance. The melodies are intricate, the counterpoint is fluid, and groove reigns supreme in mixes that are bass and percussion-heavy.

Track Listing:

1. Tarova (Michael League) 3:39

2. Semente (Michael League) 7:11

3. Gemini (Justin Stanton) 5:15

4. Grown Folks (Michael League) 7:57

5. Beep Box (Chris Bullock) 4:01

6. Gø (Michael League) 8:53

7. The Simple Life (Bob Lanzetti) 4:01

8. Palermo (Marcelo Woloski) 6:37

9. The Big Ugly (Michael League) 9:09


Michael League: bass, composer, bandleader

Bill Laurance: keyboards

Justin Stanton: trumpet, keyboards

Shaun Martin: keyboards

Bob Lanzetti: guitar

Mark Lettieri: guitar

Chris McQueen: guitar

Mike Maher: trumpet

Jay Jennings: trumpet

Chris Bullock: tenor sax, flute, clarinet

Bob Reynolds: saxophone

Nate Werth: Percussion

Robert “Sput” Searight: drums

Recorded December 2015, at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas and Atlantic Sound Studios in Brooklyn, New York.

Producer: Michael League

Mixed by: Nic Hard

Mastered by Scott Hull

Recording Engineer: Diko Shoturma, Ed Riley (3), Hector Carreon, Jerry Ordonez

Artwork: Emilia Canas Mendes


As Snarky Puppy, the open-minded American jazz and funk collective, have evolved a riproaring live show from endless road life, they’ve specialised in live albums. However, their fans worldwide need not fear that a first studio project in eight years might be a self-conscious affair: it’s a delightful surprise to be handing five stars to a jazz-influenced venture with little explicit improv. The group have grasped a different improvising opportunity, juggling audaciously with the styles of jazz, world and popular music of the past half-century as if their typical riffs and themes were phrases in a shapely but ever-changing solo. Classic big-band horn riffs and jazz-funk synth licks seamlessly mix; Hermeto Pascoalian flutes flow into squelching bass guitar; Weather Report atmospherics and 80s-Miles grooves seamlessly segue, and the coolly Crusaders-like, guitar-choppy GØ ought to be a single. Jazzers might still balk at the high-concept planning, but it’s remarkable how much polish has been applied without cramping the band’s irrepressible creative energy.

John Fordham (The Guardian)