Canadian Musician


Snarky Puppy’s Eclectic & Electric Mix @ The Phoenix

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

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Photographer and Canadian Musician contributor Neal Burstyn ( hit The Phoenix on Oct. 13th to see Snarky Puppy, presented by the TD Toronto Jazz Festival. Check out a huge library of shots from the show below, along with a few of Neal’s thoughts. Also grab your copy of our Nov./Dec. 2016 issue, as our annual Percussion Special features Snarky Puppy drummer and Toronto native Larnell Lewis.

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Having an audience sing along to your songs when they don’t actually have any words is no small feat, and one that Brooklyn-based jazz/funk/rock/pop hybrid Snarky Puppy shares with an elite group of instrumental artists.

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The band returned to Toronto – one of many “second homes” for the beloved group – to perform to a sold-out crowd at The Phoenix, and it was an elevating experience for the band and audience alike.

Snarky Puppy are an act like no other, weaving effortlessly from synth-based riffs to punchy horn melodies to chases of world music all while staying anchored in the realm of pop and widespread accessibility.

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The rhythm section is always on its A-game – and has to be to support so many talented lead players. Watching drummer Larnell Lewis and bassist and bandleader Michael League speak their unspoken language on stage was a real treat.

But despite the outsatnding musicianship – and there was plenty on display here – it’s the energy that they share with the crowd that really makes a Snarky Puppy show greater than the sum of its parts, and that was certainly the case here.

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What a treat. Thanks to the Toronto Jazz Festival for having us and bringing this one-of-a-kind, world-class act back to the Big Smoke.

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