With the release of their live, 2-disc album/DVD “Tell Your Friends” (Ropeadope Records), Snarky Puppy has gone from an underground secret to one of the most internationally respected names in instrumental music.
This award winning group has, over the last four years of touring, gained a reputation for putting on a live show unparalleled in energy, virtuosity, and musicianship. They seamlessly fuse a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience.
It is, in its physical makeup, a group of musicians from two different cultures and traditions- jazz and rock kids from white America, and gospel/R&B kids from black America. This convergence, which occurred while the band was in its adolescence at the University of North Texas, has naturally established a series of combinations and a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music- raw funk and sensitive dynamics, relentless pocket and lyrical melodicism, lush harmony and soulful simplicity, and most importantly, a delicate mixture of composition and improvisation.
Snarky Puppy is somewhere between a garage band and a collective, with over 25 players in regular rotation. Its members are mainstays with artists like Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, P Diddy Dirty Money, The Polyphonic Spree, Snoop Dogg, Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, Morcheeba, Tower of Power, Ari Hoenig/Adam Rogers, Justin Timberlake, Kenny Garrett, Yo-Yo Ma, Lucy Woodward, and Bilal, among many more.
The group was conceived and is held together by award-winning bassist/guitarist/composer/arranger Michael League, whose creative grass-roots approach to a tougher-than-ever industry has created a unique musical animal. It is a three-headed creature: first, and most obviously- an original music ensemble. Second- a production team and session band for individual artists. Third, and probably most importantly- Snarky Puppy is a group of musicians unanimously and enthusiastically committed to music education and community outreach. Working with groups like ROAM (Roots Of American Music) in inner city Cleveland and the Music Lab at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, as well as giving clinics at over 40 colleges, high schools, and middle schools worldwide (League is faculty at London’s Institute of Contemporary Music Performance), the band has made a strong commitment to spreading a love of music and general positivity to a young generation looking for something real to hold on to.
Steve’s artistry on the piano has gained him national recognition including 18 weeks in the Top 20 (including the #1 spot) on the national Jazz Week charts this spring with the Rufus Reid Trio!
Steve, a jazz pianist, has performed with Slide Hampton, Buddy Rich, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Antonio Hart, Curtis Fuller, Phil Woods, Sonny Fortune, Dianne Schuur, Tim Hagans, The Stan Kenton Orchestra and has opened for Bill Evans and Tony Bennett.
His trio CDs include “Colors”, “Dragonfly” and the soundtrack to the documentary film “New York In the Fifties.”
Steve is also music director for the 4-time Marconi award-winning nationally syndicated radio program, “The Bob & Tom Show,” with radio personalities Tom Griswold and Bob Kevioian.
One of the most acclaimed of today’s young tenor saxophonists Donny McCaslin was born and raised in California and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He joined Berklee professor Gary Burton’s quintet, with whom he toured for four years. McCaslin moved to New York, in 1991, working with bassist Eddie Gomez and then joining the group Steps Ahead, with whom he made the 1995 disc Vibe (NYC Records). But he really began to turn heads with his solo work in larger ensembles – first Ken Schaphorst’s big band, and subsequently the acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra, where his performance on the album Concert In The Garden received a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” in 2004.