Music review: Snarky Puppy - abc, glasgow

TEXAS-BRED, New York-based ensemble Snarky Puppy have struck up a special relationship with Glasgow – on a previous outing, they met and recruited their touring sound engineer and this latest visit was greeted by mounting enthusiasm from the crowd for their instrumental odysseys. Or maybe they just have that galvanising effect on all their audiences.

US funk band Snarky Puppy. Picture: Contributed

Snarky Puppy - abc, glasgow


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The extended Snarky Puppy family, benevolently headed up by bassist Michael League, numbers up to 40 musicians but, on this occasion, it comprised a comparatively trim nine-piece line-up, including guitar, percussion, various keyboards and a robust brass section, blessed with intuitive cohesion. This collective comfort level led to some noodly jazz-funk solos which walked the line between being entertaining and just a little too pleased with themselves.

Steely Dan seemed an obvious touchstone for this virtuoso group of players but as their set of mainly new material advanced, they showed off a wide spectrum of styles. A mélange of funk, Calypso and Afrobeat was followed by a spot of vocoder action from Cory Henry on the Korg. A Brazilian-inspired novelty Tio Macaco with deliberately cheesy keys and soaring flute contrasted with a tasty Middle Eastern-flavoured horn refrain which the crowd were encouraged to sing along with.

They saved their jazzy best until last as pianist Bill Laurance led off a thoroughly elegant composition with Latin, classical and bebop influences. Pockets of the crowd whooped their approval and it was obvious from the vociferous reaction that the scene was set for a carnival encore.

Seen on 01.05.14