Snarky Puppy at the North Beach Bandshell, Miami Beach, Sunday, closing the third annual Ground Up Music Festival. Photo courtesy of Luis Olazábal /The Rhythm Foundation ©
Gracious hosts to the end, Snarky Puppy closed the third annual Ground Up Music Festival at the North Beach Bandshell in Miami Beach yesterday with a killer set that seemed to sum up the weekend’s musical experience: superb musicianship, unexpected collaborations (trumpeter Nicholas Payton and the Gnawa music group Innov Gnawa) and moments of brilliance, all wrapped in an unassuming-but-still-kick-ass presentation.
Ground Up Music, Snarky Puppy’s label, created and produced the festival, and the band played a set every day while several of its members also appeared with other artists (unless proven differently, I believe there is more than one Michael League) or leading personal projects throughout the weekend.
Sunday, Snarky Puppy took the opportunity to, again, present music from their upcoming album Immigrance. If Saturday’s performance suggested they might be taking a simpler musical tack, that was laid to rest in Sunday’ set, as the writing and the playing showed a band that continues to probe and push.
There were (again) what sounded like echoes of electric Herbie Hancock circa 1974; but also the punchiest, daredevil horn and brass arrangements this side of early Irakere; superb soloing, a hint of disco and, for a band fond of flexings its muscles, moments of almost romantic, cinematic music style storytelling.