In episode two of Transmissions From Deep Ellum, the band members give us an unprecedented look inside the creation and refinement of the songs that came to make up their new album, the Grammy®-nominated Empire Central. Though the collective has recorded in front of live audiences before, shaking off two years of pandemic lockdown added a new level of intensity to the process. Band members discuss what it felt like to get back into rehearsals and realign as a group in order to execute on the musical direction inspired by bandleader Michael League.
Snarky Puppy seamlessly fuses 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. After a decade of relentless touring and recording in all but complete obscurity, the Texas-bred/New York-based quasi-collective suddenly found itself held up by the press and public as one of the major figures in the jazz world. But as the category names for all four of the band’s Grammy® awards would indicate (Best R&B Performance in 2014, Best Contemporary Instrumental Album in 2016, 2017, and 2021), Snarky Puppy isn’t exactly a jazz band. It’s not a fusion band, and it’s definitely not a jam band. It’s probably best to take Nate Chinen of the New York Times’ advice, as stated in an online discussion about the group, to “take them for what they are, rather than judge them for what they’re not.”
Transmissions From Deep Ellum is produced by Eric Lense and Jamie Margulies of GroundUp Music, and is narrated by Alex Ariff. Producers for Osiris Media: Kirsten Cluthe and Matt Dwyer. Audio Production: Matt Dwyer. Developed with assistance from Brad Stratton. Written by Eric Renner Brown. Artwork by Mark Dowd.