Thursday, March 17, 2016


After establishing themselves as a do-it-yourself entity on their own terms, Snarky Puppy, the band that "stands out with a furious commitment to defying musical categories" (LA Times)is now embarking on a significant new chapter of their musical journey, entering into a partnership with their first-ever major label home, Universal Music Classics.  Snarky Puppy is led by award-winning bassist/guitarist/composer/ arranger Michael League, whose creative grassroots approach with the band has been admired as a model for independent artists.

The joint partnership sees UMC as the exclusive distributor of all releases under GroundUP Records, the label owned and operated by League.

Michael League comments, "We're creating a very unique relationship here. GroundUP is remaining fully independent and handling all artistic processes for each album we release. UMC is using their strength as a major music industry player to advertise and distribute those albums. Each entity is sovereign, but in combining our respective strengths and working together to cover both 'indie' and 'major' bases, I believe we will see a kind of synergy happening. It's a best-of-both-worlds scenario."

The first release under the GroundUP/Universal Music Classics umbrella will be the band's ninthalbum, Family Dinner - Volume Two, out February 12, 2016. The record is a follow-up to the Grammy-winning Family Dinner - Volume One (2014), and the band's latest offering following their acclaimed UMC release, Sylva; a collaboration with the Metropole Orkest that garnered a #1-chart debut on both Billboard's Jazz and Heatseekers Charts simultaneously.
In February, UMC will release the new GroundUP record from The Bill Laurance Quartet, After Sun, followed by the debut album from Canadian singer-songwriter Michelle Willis in March, and two albums from Snarky Puppy's electric keyboardist Cory Henry in 2016.

Family Dinner - Volume Two includes both the audio album and a companion DVD that features footage of the recording process, artist interviews and behind-the-scenes b-roll.  Recorded in New Orleans, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Family Dinner - Volume Twowill be donated to the charity organization Roots of Music.  As their website states, Roots of Music "empowers the youth of New Orleans through music education, academic support, and mentorship while preserving and promoting the unique musical and cultural heritage of our city."

Voted "Best Jazz Group" in Downbeat's 2015 Reader's Poll, as well as "Best New Artist" and "Best Electric/Jazz-Rock/Contemporary Group/Artist in Jazz Times 2014 Reader's Poll, Snarky Puppy display a rare and delicate mixture of sophisticated composition, harmony and improvisation.  With Family Dinner - Volume Two, the band puts their distinctive stamp on new arrangements of eight re-imagined tracks, and act as the "house band," with vocals by an array of eclectic artists representing a variety of genres. The line-up of guest artists includes Becca Stevens, Väsen, Susana Baca, Charlie Hunter, Chris Turner, Salif Keita, Carlos Malta, Bernardo Aguiar, Laura Mvula, Michelle Willis, Jacob Collier, Big Ed Lee, Knower, Jeff Coffin and David Crosby.

Snarky Puppy has always used live performance as its chief form of evangelism, and maintains a constant intense tour schedule.  The band have played hundreds of performances over the last two years, along with workshops on four continents, including The Newport Jazz Festival, The Playboy Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz, Monterey Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, Blue Note Tokyo, EFG London Jazz Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival to name a few.

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