Texas-bred, New York-based instrumental pop collective Snarky Puppy celebrate their fourth GRAMMY win with“Live At The Royal Albert Hall,” winning Best Contemporary Instrumental Album at this week’s ceremony. Their three previous nominations include wins for Best R&B Performance in 2014 and Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for both 2016 and 2017.
Hailed by the press as “religiously unclassifiable” (Rolling Stone) and “masters of theme and variation, offering anyone with a listening ear a place to grab hold” (NPR), it’s no wonder they’ve been able to hold their own amongst the GRAMMY competition. However, for a band who (in normal times) indulges their listeners in endless touring, this win is an especially great honor dedicated to those fans who love their live music and continue to support their boundless creativity through the years. Even though the live music industry has endured a rocky year of the reeling pandemic, this GRAMMY win for a concert album serves as a landmark indication for how very important live music is.
Snarky Puppy built their extensive fanbase on relentless touring and have grown to become one of the most well-known figures in the jazz world. Even so, for the band to not only book, but also to sell out the 5,500-capacity venue at Royal Albert Hall, was an incredible feat. Now, to have the Recording Academy acknowledge their success and their sound as captured by the live album, puts the band over the moon.
In a special message on the group’s website, bandleader and bassist Michael League shared his excitement and gratitude: “Yowza. It’s an absolute honor to receive this award from the Recording Academy.
Before I say anything else, I want to ask everyone reading this to actively support Christian Scott, Bill Frisell, Gregoire Maret, Romain Collin, Jon Batiste, and Black Violin. We’re honored to even be in the same sentence as them!
It’s been a year without live music. This record reminds us of what we’ve been missing- the energy of a live crowd, the joy of being on stage together... and I want to thank the incredible Snarky Puppy crew for making not just this show- but every show- an absolute pleasure. Live Here Now Recording and Royal Albert Hall, you made this happen! Thank you!
Big love to GroundUP Music for being the center of our community, to Mike Chadwick for convincing us to make this record in the first place, and to our label-mate and dear, dear friend Becca Stevens, as she celebrates her first ever (and overdue!) nomination. Everyone please show her love!
And finally, thank YOU all for putting us here. It’s been the listeners from the very, very, very humble beginning. We love you.”
It’s a collaborative win, made possible by three independent live entertainment entities - Live Here Now, Snarky Puppy and the team at Royal Albert Hall - joining together for one very special concert event at the iconic venue. March 29th marks the 150th anniversary for Royal Albert Hall; meanwhile, this GRAMMY is the first win for the legendary establishment.
Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “We’re so thrilled and honoured to be part of a Grammy-winning album, which heralds the return of live music to the UK as we mark our 150thanniversary. Live recordings have been a cornerstone of our history, from Peter Whitehead’s ground-breaking Led Zeppelin film in 1970, to Adele’s record-breaking debut in 2011. We’re so proud to add Snarky Puppy’s Grammy win to that legacy.”
“Live at the Royal Albert Hall” features songs from Snarky Puppy’s critically-acclaimed 2019 release, “Immigrance,” which debuted on five different Billboard charts, including #2 on Heatseekers, #2 on Jazz Albums and #8 on Independent Albums. The record continues to make waves on charts across the world, reaching #11 on the digital album list in France, the #2 Jazz album in France, as well as #2 on the UK Jazz and Blues chart, among others.
ABOUT LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL
In 2012, Snarky Puppy booked their first European tour through Facebook posts, begging people to help find a bar they could play in. Years later, on November 14th, 2019, Snarky Puppy recorded their sold-out show from the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London, which is the group’s first official live release in almost 4 years. Featuring an extended line-up of 15 of their 18 regular members, the record includes many tracks from their recent studio album, “Immigrance.” “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” captures an interesting mix of new and old songs, illustrating their musical and artistic progression over the years.
ABOUT SNARKY PUPPY:
Snarky Puppy is a collective of sorts with as many as 25 members in the band’s rotation. They each maintain busy schedules as sidemen (with such artists as Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and D’Angelo), producers (for Kirk Franklin, David Crosby, and Salif Keïta), and solo artists (many of whom are on the band’s indie label, GroundUP Music). At its’ core, the band represents the convergence of both black and white American music culture with various accents from around the world. Japan, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico all have representation in the group’s membership. But more than the cultural diversity of the individual players, the defining characteristic of Snarky Puppy’s music is the joy of performing together in the perpetual push to grow creatively.
The band was formed by bassist and primary composer Michael League in 2003, starting inconspicuously enough as a group of college friends at the University of North Texas’ Jazz Studies program. Three years later, a serendipitous intersection with the Dallas gospel and R&B community in Dallas transformed the music into something funkier, more direct, and more visceral. It was at this time that the group absorbed musicians like Robert “Sput” Searight (drums), Shaun Martin (keyboards), and Bobby Sparks (keyboards), and were heavily influenced by legendary keyboardist Bernard Wright (Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Marcus Miller).
ABOUT LIVE HERE NOW
Live Here Now is a specialist live music label and production company. They offer artists the opportunity to record and sell beautiful, limited edition, live concert recordings, to their dedicated fan-bases and the wider music audience.
Founded in 2014 as part of UK indie Mute Records, they became the live recording arm of the world-famous Abbey Road Studios in 2010. Fully independent since 2015, they have recorded over 750 shows all over the world working with artists such as Depeche Mode, Blur, New Order, & Nick Cave. More info here – www.liveherenow.com
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