Snarky Puppy - abc, glasgow
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