Snarky Puppy Releasing Moodier, Raw New Album Immigrance March 15th 2019 on GroundUP Music.
Text and photos @GroundUpMusic
Snarky Puppy, the three-time GRAMMY-winning genre-defying collective, will release their new album Immigrance on March 15th via GroundUP Music. Like their last album, 2016’s GRAMMY-winning Culcha Vulcha, Immigrance is a studio project, and it features most of the same musicians. And though it shares that project’s ace musicianship and dynamic, kinetic spirit, it is also rawer and moodier than its predecessor. Several of the compositions put a new-found emphasis on delivering simpler, streamlined impact, and bassist, composer and bandleader Michael League, as producer on the album, left in the tiny flubs and unvarnished textures that accompany great organic performances.
Immigrance is also all about movement. “The idea here is that everything is fluid, that everything is always moving and that we’re all in a constant state of immigration,” explains League, who founded Snarky Puppy in 2003 and has helmed it into one of the most popular, virtuosic and influential bands of the current jazz and instrumental-music renaissance. “Obviously the album’s title is not without political undertones.”
But Immigrance doesn’t aim to scold or condescend; rather, its mission is one of uplift, a testament to what humanity can achieve when cultures are able to come together without fear. As ever, that globally minded synthesis, tapping into a far-reaching spectrum of musical styles and approaches, is front and centre throughout Immigrance. “Like Culcha Vulcha,” League says, “this record is largely informed by our travels, and we’re always trying to pass specific ideas through our filter and into our idiom without being disrespectful to the tradition at hand.”
A multicultural perspective isn’t the only way in which Immigrance leans into themes of cooperation and equality, however. Its writing credits extend beyond League to include contributions from the group’s vast, ever-shifting lineup, and the album’s rhythmic component is rooted in a groundbreaking strategy: Drummers Jamison Ross, Jason “JT” Thomas and Larnell Lewis share sections of each composition—without overlapping. “Whenever you feel a big change in the section of a song,” League explains, “just know that it’s another drummer playing: verse to chorus, different drummer; chorus to solo section, different drummer; solo section to bridge, different drummer. But they do it so seamlessly and beautifully that you just notice, ‘Oh, that snare feels a little different,’ or ‘That rhythm has a different energy.’ It really brings new life into each section.”
Throughout its countless gigs and dozen previous albums, Snarky Puppy’s not-so-secret weapon has been diversity. After all, what better way to make all-embracing music than to utilise musicians from every corner of the U.S. in addition to Argentina, Japan, Canada, the U.K. and elsewhere? So with Immigrance, Snarky Puppy is essentially practicing what it’s preached all along. “The band itself is a representation of what we’re trying to express musically,” League explains. “That people from different places can bring their various strengths and experiences, and how that can be beautiful and cohesive.”
A touring dynamo who have played to thousands of fans at shows on six continents, Snarky Puppy will once again host the GroundUP Music Festival on Miami Beach, FL on February 8-10th, with a line-up that includes Snarky Puppy all three nights (performing songs from Immigrance live for the first time), David Crosby, Andrew Bird, Tank and the Bangas, Lalah Hathaway, Richard Bona and more. A full line-up and more info can be found here.
After that, the group will then head to Los Angeles for a show at Walt Disney Hall Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic on February 23rd. In April, Snarky Puppy will start their world tour – kicking off with Japan, Australia and New Zealand. A coast-to-coast U.S. tour will begin May 10th before they head to Europe for a headline festival tour from June 22nd to July 25th with a second US run in September/Oct and a full European major city tour in Oct/Nov. Full dates to be announced soon.