Snarky Puppy

01/05/24, 19:30

At their Brno premiere in October 2022 at the Sono Centre, they deservedly caused a big stir. On May 1, The Lover’s Day, including those in love with jazz, Snarky Puppy will celebrate their twentieth anniversary at the same venue and present their latest album Empire Central, which earned them a Grammy Award in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category. It’s their fifth in a row.


The band’s story began in the Texas town of Denton, where the first-ever college jazz department has been in operation since 1947. Bassist Michael League, who founded Snarky Puppy as a ten-piece for a school project, is an alumnus of the school. After premiering at J&J Pizza on the Square and performing journeyman duties at other, often obscure, venues in Denton, the bandleader decided to record a debut album on the low budget while executing the first-ever tour of small clubs and student parties. The band’s entire first decade of operation was similar – they repeatedly crisscrossed the States, playing any hole-in-the-wall venue where a promoter dared to risk their involvement.

Meanwhile, the bandleader and a few of his contemporaries moved to nearby Dallas to gain a foothold in the local gospel and R ́n ́B scene. A turning point turned out to be the 2010 album Tell Your Friends. During recording it, the band not only harnessed the power of performing live in front of audiences, but also mastered their marketing method and their music finally reached a wider audience. The first European tour didn’t take long to get underway and the band jumped on a wave of interest that continues to this day. Another significant step up the popularity ladder came in 2013, when Snarky Puppy’s collaboration with singer Lalah Hathaway earned them their first Grammy Award for Best R ́n ́B Performance. Another Grammy Award they eraned for the albums Sylva, Culcha Vulcha and Live at the Royal Albert Hall.

The year 2022 was the Snarky Puppy’s year of a great comeback – they returned to the concert stages and released their fourteenth album, Empire Central, which was once again rewarded with a Grammy Award. “The individual players and personalities on stage are constantly pushing the songs in new directions, which is the main magic of touring for me. I love seeing the songs grow,” says bandleader Michael League. We’ll see him, by the way, on February 17 at the Besední dům, where he’ll present his all-acoustic project with longtime Snarky Puppy pianist Bill Lauranco in a separate concert.