Thomas Jacob Jr.
Jazz / Fusion
Snarky Puppy are one of the premiere jazz fusion groups working today. They combine immaculate musicianship with formidable live performances, often incorporating woodwinds, horns, and electronic experimentation into their sound. In the past their recorded output has often been meandering and unfocused, with jams lacking the kinds of hooks that would truly elevate their work. By focusing on the songwriting this time around and aiming to craft a big jazz fusion record in the vein of Hot Rats-era Frank Zappa mixed with the effortless lushness of 80’s Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays records for ECM, the band have crafted perhaps their strongest statement of purpose yet with Culcha Vulcha. From the pastoral fusion of Semente to the funky grooves of Grown Folks, all of Culcha Vulcha is a joy to listen to. It’s the kind of contemporary jazz fusion record that should work for musicians and non-musicians alike. It will be interesting to see where the group goes from here.