Grammy-winning band Snarky Puppy jazzes up campus

When it comes to showcasing the musical talents of Snarky Puppy, no special effects or gimmicks are needed.

The band, which won the Grammy award for best R&B performance in 2013, took the Anderson Center stage Thursday night and was met by a packed crowd of Binghamton University students and local residents.

Lead bassist, composer and producer Michael League started off the night by thanking the Binghamton community for welcoming them.

“It’s nice to have a new place to have to call home away from home,” he said.

Formed in Denton, Texas in 2004, Snarky Puppy has 40 rotating members who play multiple instruments ranging from wind to percussion. Their current four-month world tour features a nine-member lineup with Grammy award winners such as League, Shaun Martin and Robert Searight.

The band kicked off the night with “Kite,” a song from their newest album and DVD, “We Like It Here.” As a diverse ensemble, the talents of each of the nine members were highlighted to the excited crowd with solos throughout.

Despite being classified as a jazz band, Snarky Puppy does not follow the conventions of a traditional jazz group. By borrowing elements from R&B, funk and instrumental rock, they fuse together a unique sound that keeps listeners interested and wanting more.

Natalie Knezevic, a sophomore majoring in human development, found herself head-bopping to Snarky Puppy the entire night.

“My favorite song was ‘Sleeper,’ which was the last one [song] that they played,” she said. “I loved the mellow chords in the beginning that built into crazy funk. All the solos were amazing! One of my favorite parts had to be the encore where we finally all got up to dance.”

Concluding the concert with the song “Sleeper,” followed by a brief encore, League thanked the audience for an enjoyable night.

“Who ever thought a theater could be so much fun?” he said.