Live at the Royal Albert Hall (GroundUp Music)

Snarky Puppy

Released March 13, 2020

Grammy Nominee for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album 2021




Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. The convergence of musicians from white and black America (who also perform regularly with artists like Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Kirk Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Roy Hargrove, and Marcus Miller among others), which occurred while the band was in its adolescence at the University of North Texas, has naturally established a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music- raw funk and sensitive dynamics, relentless pocket and lyrical melodicism, lush harmony and soulful simplicity, and most importantly, a delicate mixture of composition and improvisation.

Though an instrumental band in nature, Snarky Puppy thrives on collaborating with artists from all styles. Their Family Dinner album series is a vehicle for this, having seen the likes of Salif Keita, Susana Baca, David Crosby, Lalah Hathaway, Becca Stevens, Laura Mvula, Brazilian legends Carlos Malta and Bernardo Aguiar, Swedish neo-trad group Väsen, Jeff Coffin, Charlie Hunter, and many more over the course of the first two installments.

The group is led by bassist/guitarist/composer/arranger Michael League, whose creative grass-roots approach to a tougher-than-ever industry has created a new model for independent artists. Snarky Puppy is a three-headed creature: first, and most obviously- an original music ensemble. Second, a production team and session band for individual artists. Third, and probably most importantly, Snarky Puppy is a group of musicians enthusiastically committed to music education and community outreach. Working with non-profit and arts advocacy groups around the world, as well as giving clinics at hundreds of colleges, high schools, and middle schools on six continents, the band has made a strong commitment to spreading their love of music and general positivity to a young generation looking for something real to be inspired by.  In 2012, Snarky Puppy booked their first European tour through Facebook posts, begging people to help find a bar they could play in. Years later, on November 14th, 2019, Snarky Puppy recorded their sold-out show from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, which will be their first official live release in almost 4 years. Featuring an extended line-up of 15 out of their 18 regular members, the record includes many tracks from their recent studio album, “Immigrance.” “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” captures an interesting mix of new and old songs, illustrating their musical and artistic progression over the years.

Track Listing:

Disc 1

1. Even Us 08:12

2. Intelligent Design 09:16

3. While We’re Young 07:32

4. Alma 08:35

5. Bad Kids to the Back 08:21

6. Bigly Strictness 08:22

Disc 2

1. Tarova 06:18

2. Xavi 09:31

3. Chonks 09:13

4. Sleeper 11:44

5. Shofukan 12:07


Michael League: bass, Moog keybass, krakeb

Bill Laurance: keyboards

Justin Stanton: trumpet, keyboards

Shaun Martin: keyboards, talkbox 

Mark Lettieri: guitar

Mike Maher: trumpet, flugelhorn 

Chris Bullock: tenor sax, flute, bass flute

Bob Reynolds: tenor saxophone

Zach Brock: violin

Bobby Sparks: keyboards

Jason “JT” Thomas: drums

Keita Ogawa: percussion

Marcelo Woloski: percussion

Mason Davis: krakeb (CD2, 2)

Recorded live November 14, 2019, at Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Recorded by Will Shapland

Recording Technical Engineers: Necker, Martin Knight

Recording Assistants: James Rogers, Will Daniels

Mixed by Nic Hard, Neil Macintosh and Michael League

Photography: Carsten Windhorst

Art Direction: Michael League

Artwork Design: Louise Hendy


The “Brooklyn-Based jazz funk fusion collective” Snarky Puppy have developed an unwavering mass of fans young and old. As the 12-piece band poured onto the stage on Thursday night, this 5,000 strong fan base whooped and hollered excitedly. 

As the room sat in darkness, a solo guitar started with a beautifully simple mournful melody, soon joined one-by-one by the rest of the band. Before long, an epic feast for the senses had built up. Each composition moved through this mellow simplicity to raucous cacophony again and again, and though it seemed formulaic at times, each groove was different and each soloist brought something new to the music.

These guys have mastered the art of the “show” – a true stadium style gig with the spectacle and atmosphere of a rock concert, but the discerning ears of a jazz crowd. Each musician has at least one piece where their solo is a feature. Mike Maher played some particularly inventive and lyrical solos on trumpet and flugelhorn. Individually, the band are geniuses on their own instruments, but they also embrace effects, especially in the keyboards, featuring many different synthesizers and a Talk Box, on which Shaun Martin had the crowd completely and totally hooked on Sleeper. Rather than headbanging and crowd surfing, this serious audience was entrusted with an exercise of clapping a 3-over-4 syncopated rhythm while the band played a song called Xavi from their newest album Immigrance. 

This gig was a special one as it was being recorded as a live album. Leader and bassist Michael League announced near the end that there was a “Silver Bullet” parked round the back of the concert hall that had been mixing and producing the music in real time and that guests could queue up and receive the first digital mix of the gig 15 minutes after the show ended.

All in all, Snarky Puppy never seem to disappoint. They have contributed a lot to the way jazz has changed and grown in the last 10 years and they keep coming up with new and innovative ideas to add to their appeal.