Wednesday 6 April 2016

'Family Dinner, Volume 2' by Snarky Puppy [Review]

The Texas-born, New York-based, jazz-fusion ensemble called Snarky Puppy unveiled their tenth album this year, with the second in their collaborative ‘Family Dinner’ series, ‘Volume 2’.

Propelled by the success of their pairing with Lalah Hathaway for Volume 1 (their cover of Brenda Russell’s ‘Something’ earned the collective a Grammy), Volume 2 follows very much in suit with the aesthetic laid out previously: an eclectic and diverse list of collaborators assemble here to have their songs recorded live in front of an incredibly fortunate audience who got to see the magic unfold before their eyes.

“Magic” is a great word to use here too... David Crosby performing ‘Somebody Home’ is beautiful, particularly with his engaging banter with the audience before the song; Laura Mvula recreating ‘Sing to the Moon’ is glorious; Becca Stevens delivers a typically great vocal on ‘I Asked’ and ‘Be Still’; ditto with Chris Turner on ‘Liquid Love’.  Special mention as well to the pop outfit, Knower, who really bring an innovative energy to songs ‘I Remember’ and ‘One Hope’, and a further mention to Snarky Puppy’s dream pairing with Nigel Hall on ‘Brother, I’m Hungry’.

...Yes, that was a mouthful but the album is brimming with talent and incredible music, it feels like I’m doing a disservice by not mentioning as many of the songs and contributors as possible.

I mentioned earlier that this marks Snarky Puppy’s tenth album since 2006 so if the name is new to you, you’ll need to play catch-up quickly as a further album is due from them this year.  Family Dinner Vols 1 and 2 are as good a place to start as any though.

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