We like it here

We stay in the United States with Snarky Puppy, the guest jazz collective. They record their albums in live conditions with fans in full-immersion.
Their clips are watched hundreds of thousands of times on youtube and young jazz musicians only swear by them at the moment.
This is the event of next Sunday (June the 29th) at Paris Parc Floral.

The sound is very recognizable, funky style and band composition (brass instruments, guitars, synth with thumb wheel of modulation). They play with decomposed measures, chains of different themes and rhythms that reminds me sometimes great progressive rock nouns.

We are going to listen to « Lingus », a tune from « We like it there » album. A lot of their pieces are in loop in my « walkman » these days but I suggest this tune that illustrates quite well the good mood of the group, listening and closeness of the musicians, and in addition, an incredible solo of Cory Henry, one of the keyboards players.

Times are mapped with video version. I advise to listen to this piece first and have a look to the video version later. Image gives another dimension to the tune.

Lingus (We Like It Here) by Snarky Puppy on Grooveshark

Look at where the public is, literally in the middle of the musicians. A special place!

After an intro of synth, the piece starts at once on decomposed measures (0:11): a first very swaying theme on cycles of measures in 4 then 6 times, repeated twice.
The following theme leaves at top speed (0:58) on a 5 times rhythmic with a small very disturbing passage: are we still in 5 times? No, in 6? Hey in 4? Well it is still 5 then… The villains, if they do not play first beats, I am lost!

Third theme (1:02), this is clear here, 5 times and guitar plays it with keyboards only.
Then back to the beginning: theme 1 (1:20) with Michael League’s bass playing between spaces, theme 2 (1:58) doubled this time, theme 3 again with guitar (2:30) which quickly undergoes a brass attack with drums bursts (2:39). Brass section finally appropriates the theme (2:48).
But always in a good mood, of course.

After this swarm of themes, first solo is played by Chris Bullock on tenor sax (3:06), customized by sound effects. He is joined by Mike Maher on trumpet in 4/4 (not a 4×4 car, just a term to say they play each on 4 measures one after the other), he is connected on effects too. Everybody takes in chorus the third theme back (4:00).
The piece is very festive.

From now on, it is Cory Henry’s hour of glory, white card (4:18). My favorite moment!
Pianissimo rhythmic, so that the speech can begin smoothly and without constraint, only bass reminds main harmony lines of the piece but it is hardly audible.

Some notes of synth and quickly chords are chimed out. Cory navigates, glides. Hearing modulations, letting winds guiding us, drifting, taken by streams, we lose control. Measure? Tempo? Do not know… Be allowed take rather that to intellectualize.
In the 5th minute, here we are: « Finally he is not lost during flight, he is even perfectly in position! »

Thumb wheel begins to itch Cory, under the eyes of Shaun Martin, his synth neighbour which follows his fingers with attention and appreciates Larnell Lewis’ drums accompaniment (5:40) becoming more and more present to help rising the solo.
Some appreciative looks, some head surges, some faces, we listen to and really appreciate this solo with Shaun’s reactions.

At 6:19, Cory leaves the thumb wheel to take the second keyboard with his left hand. Being a great organ player, he excels at this exercise, switching from accompaniment with his left hand to a both hands unison solo with left hand in chords (6:32). And thumb wheel returning from time to time, like mosquito bites, that itches… but there it is pleasant.

Impossible to lift our eyes from Shaun (the neighbor), we like so much his reactions (6:42, 7:02). He finally even prefers going into the public to appreciate the more (7:16) when Cory begins a long fast and rhythmical two hands solo.
It is necessary to see the settled looks between these musicians.
Going back to a more traditional solo announces the return in ranks soon (8:00).

Breaks are extremely well propped up between drums and brass instruments to launch the last phase of the piece: brass riffs perfectly punctuated by the drums and the keyboard solo which continues up to the final bombardment on two lines drums/brass instruments/keyboard against bass which strikes different rhythms (9:42).

Standing ovation to finish! For the public but also musicians or in our couch or in transports if you are in subway, tramway or bus. just avoid standing ovation if you are in a car or a motorbike. If you are on a bike you could be in dancer position.

I invite you to look at other videos and to listen to other pieces of Snarky Puppy on the net. You can see Shaun Martin in his dedicated piece on the same album (« Sleeper ») or Bob Reynolds losing his headphones during his saxophone solo on « Outlier ».

I hope that you are now tempted to come to listen to them in the Parc Floral of Paris next Sunday June 29th at 3:30 PM.

Embedly Powered


Title: Lingus
Artist: Snarky Puppy
Album: We like it here
Label: Ropeadope Records, Groundup Music
Time: 10’43
Year: 2014

Michael League: bass
Larnell Lewis: drums
Nate Werth: percussions
Bob Reynolds, Chris Bullock: Tenor Saxophone
Jay Jennings, Mike « Maz » Maher: trompet
Bob Lanzetti, Chris McQueen, Mark Lettieri: guitar
Justin Stanton: fender rhodes
Bill Laurence, Cory Henry, Shaun Martin: keyboards

Recorded and mixed by Eric Hartman.