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groundUP
Format: Audio CDChange
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The CD contains 8 tracks all of which are very interesting, but the DVD really brings this project to life. So there are 21 people playing together live, with no overdubs.

This is a logistical nightmare which is just a normal few days for leader and bass player Michael League, who formed the band with 9 fellow college members and the concept has grown to include many other musicians and especialy star drummers, who really add to the feel of the band.

In the DVD we get all the album tracks, plus interviews with band members and short excerpts from other gigs, along with a glimpse of "life on the road" with Snarky Puppy. Some of the band members play with other big name artists and are used to staying in good hotels, relaxing and preparing - but with Snarky Puppy, it's a case of driving hundreds of miles every day, sleeping in the van and everybody helping out with moving gear and setting up. All because they love this music!

To get 21 musicians together to record is by no means easy and the DVD also explains how they had to hire a large warehouse, then get as much recording gear as possible and move it all into this empty space. They then had 3 days to record the album live in front of a small, invited audience.

This all makes for a unique band and a unique sound. So there are 3 guitarists, 3 percussionists, 3 or 4 keyboard players, string section and large horn section. All playing live together at the same time. The surprise is that it all sounds so "tight" and together - if you hadn't seen it on the DVD you might not believe it and imagine that they had just overdubbed parts, one by one.

The music is all instrumental, a mixture of Jazz, Indie Rock, Blues, Funk and New Orleans roots style. The variety of players and styles, means it never gets boring, but the arrangements by Michael League give it a coherence and as the main writer he deserves huge credit for this album and bringing everything together. He shows that you don't need managers, A&R men, producers etc. - he does it all. Although the band all help and act like a large 'commune' or co-operative movement, dedicated to creating great music.

Every track has interesting arrangements and solos from different band members/instruments. Hard to pick out favourites but drummer Robert Searight's "Bent Nails" is funky and exciting - overall his drumming is a stand-out feature - he has played many sessions with big name acts.

This is a good value package - CD and DVD for the same as a normal CD. Don't miss out on the DVD, as this really brings the music to life and shows you all that went into this. Highly recommended - one of the Jazz albums of the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2013
If you like well-played music of whatever genre and don't mind brilliant musicianship replacing vocals, then you're gonna love this. Some incomparable jazz-rock-funk-fusion solos, coupled to live-music that really swings, where the artists are, quite obviously, having a ball...

No reservations recommending this whatsoever - just check out their YouTube page for the live videos accompanying these sessions!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2013
Great cross section of influences - jazz, funk and even rock. Hope to see them live in UK this summer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2013
I just happened to flick onto Radio 2 the over night and caught a bit of Jamie Cullum's show. It's a miracle I heard this as I'm not a Jamie Cullum fan - had "Thing of Gold" not been playing when I flicked onto the channel I would've flicked off as soon as I heard his voice! But it was. And I didn't.

As soon as I got home - desperately trying to remember the band name - I looked them up on YouTube. What I saw and heard blew me away. A group of young (I hate them), mega talented (I hate them) musicians laying it down live with no overdubs running through fussion/jazz/rock/rnb and clearly having a ball (I hate them). As another reviewer said they cover so many musical bases and yet somehow stay coherent due to Michael League expertly navigating the band through the genre seas with a deft hand.

From YouTube I came straight to Amazon and ordered and having been enjoying ever since. Favourites are Thing of Gold, Minjor, Binky and the superb Young Stuff with it's incredible, uplifting end build and uber tasteful bass playing.

Wow.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2013
Having seen clips of this 'live in the studio' album, I decided this offering was a must & I wasn't disappointed. The creativity on display is first rate and the blast that all involved are having is plain for all to experience. I would say that compared to "Tell Your Friends", their previous album, the tunes are not as consistently good, but the peaks are higher than its predecessor. Standout tracks for me are the opener "Thing of Gold", "Quartermaster" - Sean Martin literally 'on the piano', and my favourite "Young Stuff" featuring band leader Michael League's epic bass solo. Excellent and exuberant, Snarky Puppy are on a stratospheric trajectory and 2013 should see them become established as a major force in popular music. For Guitar fans, there is the tandem of Bob Lanzetti and Mark Lettieri, keyboard lovers have the quadruple treat of Justin Stanton, Brit Bill Laurence, the goof that is Sean Martin and last but by no means least Genius Cory Henry. The ensemble has a powerful horn section with Chris Bullock on Sax, Justin Stanton and Mike Maz Maher doubling up on trumpet and flugelhorn. Check out Snarky Puppy, you'd be barking mad not to.
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on 7 January 2014
Like most everyone else who has heard this, I echo the key aspect as really getting to feel the sheer joy of music, a mish-mash of jazz/funk/New Orleans horns and anything else that serves each tune. You pretty much forget the supreme technical abilities on show, and just get sucked up into the rhythm and pulse of each track. The guy on the moog is just toooo much, his solos really stound out. The DVD is great too, it's obvious this group really love what they are doing. This is a an easy 'buy' recommendation.
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on 20 March 2013
2013 is the year for Snarky Puppy. With a huge European tour under way the word will spread, what a great band they are and how good this record is.
Recorded live in March 2012 in NYC groundUP is an exciting record. Standout tracks are Thing of Gold, Binky and Young Stuff. If you have the chance to catch one of their shows, take it. If not enjoy the CD and DVD of Michael League and the crew doing their finest!
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on 9 January 2015
Didn't know what to make of this album, first time I heard it. It's definitely a grower and the more I listen to it, the better it gets. It's jazz but there seems to be a bit of everything thrown into the mix. Very high quality album, everything very tight and don't know how they managed to record it so well. Highly recommend buying this album.
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on 3 March 2013
A beautiful cd/dvd package again from our favorit big band. Taking over an old building not suited for concert or recording yet and accomodate it to shoot a video in view days. They're crazy and they are superb.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 June 2013
Superb stuff. Take Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters, mix in a good quantity of Tower Of Power horns, whisk in some Crusaders, sprinkle liberally with Rippingtons, Grover Washington, Bob James and just the tiniest pinch of Weather Report and you have a very potent cocktail for both the head and the heart! You want to listen, but you have to dance! Get's a touch busy at times, but that makes you listen all the harder, which is not easy when your feet just won't stop moving about!
Wish I'd been there in the room with those few lucky listeners.
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