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CD: Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Volume Two | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Volume Two

CD: Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Volume Two

US collective delivers another appetizing smorgasbord of songs

From hyperventilated funk to plaintive melodicism: Snarky Puppy

With everything they touch seemingly transforming into artistic gold, shapeshifting US collective Snarky Puppy are currently on a roll. Following their 2014 Grammy win for Family Dinner Volume One, they’ve since chalked up ‘Best Jazz Group’ in the 2015 Downbeat Readers Poll, plus a Grammy nomination in the ‘Best Contemporary Instrumental Album’ category for last year’s Sylva. This purple patch looks set to continue with the arrival of Family Dinner Volume Two.

Serving up another appetizing smorgasbord of songs that range from the hyperventilated funk of “I Remember” (take a bow, LA duo Knower and reeds player Jeff Coffin) to the glorious sound of Malian icon Salif Keïta revisiting his breakthrough album with “Soro (Afriki)”, Volume Two tweaks the format of its predecessor, incorporating not only guest vocalists, but guest instrumentalists as well. Album opener “I Asked” pairs NYC-based singer-songwriter Becca Stevens with Swedish folk pioneers Väsen to create a haunting sound-world in which nycklharpa, muted trumpets, parlor guitar, charango, frame drum and a heavy-duty Moog bass coalesce around the unaffected beauty of Stevens’ vocal.

Recorded live in New Orleans, this is an album of standouts in which the deluxe arrangements are respectful to the spirit of the original while casting them in a captivating new light. Coupled with trailblazing US guitarist Charlie Hunter, Peruvian vocalist Susana Baca paints a heart-rending picture in “Molino Moreno”; London-based, multi-instrumentalist phenom Jacob Collier and Soul Rebels Brass Band sousaphonist Big Ed Lee shine in the vibrant layerings of Don’t You Know”, which features an alluring, ruminative solo from Snarky pianist Bill Laurance. Laura Mvula and Michelle Willis team up to deliver a sumptuous account of Mvula’s “Sing To The Moon”, while the adrenalised groove of “Liquid Love”, powered by an impressive array of percussion, gives vocalist Chris Turner ample space in which to flow freely.

The biggest surprise is saved until last: a ballad, “Somebody Home”, most movingly sung by its composer, David Crosby. A song whose plaintive melodicism goes straight to the heart, it rounds off an exceptional album.

Overleaf: Watch the official trailer for Family Dinner Volume Two


The deluxe arrangements are respectful to the spirit of the original while casting them in a captivating new light


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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