By Eddie Jorgensen
The music collective Snarky Puppy is knee-deep in its Fall tour to support a new record, ‘Empire Central.’
Led by bassist and bandleader, Michael League, the band’s mellifluous sound is something he describes as “a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals.”
And while every night might reveal a handful of unexpected Easter eggs, the group never comes off as disjointed, or derivative of other like-minded jazz-influenced groups.
With a roster of rotating artists that numbers as high as 25 active members, the Snarky Puppy touring machine utilizes its players based on availability and the musical direction of its latest undertaking. What started in Texas 19 years ago with less than a dozen core members has now blossomed into something far beyond the ensemble and League’s expectations. Today, members can be found playing with other notable acts such as Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and D’Angelo.
In addition to its touring feats, the band successfully launched its own GroundUP Music record label imprint. Now distributed by music giant Universal Music Group, the records are more easily found, including such disparate artists as Charlie Hunter, David Crosby, Bokanté, Mark Lettieri (solo) and Breastfist.
New York’s own House of Water will open for Snarky Puppy when it plays the Mondavi Center in Davis on Sept. 21. Tickets start at just $12.50 and top out at $65, and can be purchased in advance at www.mondaviarts.org. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. All ages are welcome. Jackson Hall is located inside the Mondavi Center on the UC Davis campus at One Shields Avenue in Davis.