Snarky Puppy – Take It!

Since Vodka found Thing Of Gold back in 2012, I’ve been a fan of Snarky Puppy. Though it doesn’t fall neatly into the philosophy of shining a light on music that is mostly hidden from view, Snarky Puppy’s live ecosystem of music performance is a thing to marvel at (see video). Take It! (seen/heard here) from their new LP, Empire Central (coming October 2022) falls squarely in the jazz-funk fusion category as far as Vodka is concerned.  Vodka has reviewed or made reference to the band several times over the last 10 years. 

From a jazz point of view, Take It! uses the variations on a theme found in much of that style of music, handing the theme back and forth between horns, keyboards, guitars, drums, and more. The feel here is very funky, with the keys adding not just texture and tune, but a decidedly modern feel to the track. Notes are bent, and blended, but never broken and the band is tight throughout, which is to be expected from Snarky Puppy

Sadly, Bernard Wright, who was featured on Take It! and was well-known in funk circles, was killed in a traffic accident in May of this year. His performance on Take It! will appeal to his fans, as well as the fans of Snarky Puppy. RIP Bernard Wright.

Empire Central
Empire Central

I’ve only one disappointment here, but I firmly understand the decision: Snarky Puppy has usually offered a DVD/CD combo purchase as an option. To see the band perform these tracks is part of the experience and some of us will likely never get a chance to actually see Snarky Puppy live, which makes those live performances available via DVD such a great experience.  With DVDs going the way of cassettes and 8-tracks these days, I can see why the DVD option is no more. It’s just sad that seeing the band perform these tracks live (at least as live as they can be on DVD) is no longer an option. 

Formed in 2004 by bassist and primary composer Michael League, Snarky Puppy is a loose collaborative of artists who perform with the group and keep full-time musical schedules outside as well. Musically, Vodka has noted the track here as jazz-funk fusion, but throughout the band’s career, they have eluded genres. That’s one of the factors that makes them so interesting to listen to. You can find more information on Snarky Puppy by heading up to their very complete website. Empire Central is available in all of the most popular formats, CD, Vinyl, MP3, and FLAC download. From a music value standpoint, consider the CD purchase. The 2-CD set goes for $20 US and includes a digital download as well. Originally scheduled for release at the end of September, Empire Central is now poised for release late this month. Consider pre-ordering your copy now!