Gig review: Snarky Puppy, Edinburgh

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Snarky Puppy have been going for almost a decade now, coalescing originally around a group of students in Texas.

Snarky Puppy - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

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The band has a central core of regular musicians built around founder and bassist Michael League, and a larger floating community of members for specific projects.

Their international standing has grown considerably in the last couple of years, and they are now regulars on the touring circuit.

Their particular brand of mix-and-match eclecticism is based on a fusion of jazz, rock, funk, ethnic and dance idioms, recast in their own image.

It’s more visceral then cerebral in appeal, hence the disappearance of the cabaret tables in favour of standing room to mark their debut at both this venue and the Edinburgh Jazz Festival.

That’s not to suggest that they are in any sense lightweight as musicians – they are serious players to a man – but their greatest strength lies in the unit, and their dedication to creating fun on both sides of the stage.

The nine-piece band is built to groove, with two drummers, three keyboards (one doubling trumpet), guitar and bass guitar thumping out irrepressible surges of energy.

At heart they are a jazz-funk outfit, oscillating between a quite retro but highly pumped-up early-70s feel and a more edgy contemporary vibe.

They reeled off a selection of loudly acclaimed favourites, and threw in a couple of new pieces due to be recorded later in the year.