With the release of their live, 2-disc album/DVD “Tell Your Friends” (Ropeadope Records), Snarky Puppy has gone from an underground secret to one of the most internationally respected names in instrumental music. The 3-time Dallas Observer Music Award winning group (“Best Jazz Act” 2008, 2009, 2010) has, over the last four years of touring, gained a reputation for putting on a live show unparalleled in energy, virtuosity, and musicianship. They seamlessly fuse a deep knowledge and respect for musical tradition with sonic and conceptual innovation in a way that is able to reach the most critical- or most carefree- audience. It is, in its physical makeup, a group of musicians from two different cultures and traditions- jazz and rock kids from white America, and gospel/R&B kids from black America. This convergence, which occurred while the band was in its adolescence at the University of North Texas, has naturally established a series of combinations and a system of balance that instantly draws listeners to the music- raw funk and sensitive dynamics, relentless pocket and lyrical melodicism, lush harmony and soulful simplicity, and most importantly, a delicate mixture of composition and improvisation. Snarky Puppy is somewhere between a garage band and a collective, with over 25 players in regular rotation. The core of the group, which remains consistent, features Grammy Award-winners Robert “Sput” Searight on drums (God’s Property, Snoop Dogg) and Shaun Martin on keys (Kirk Franklin, Erykah Badu). Its other members are mainstays with artists like Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, P Diddy Dirty Money, The Polyphonic Spree, Snoop Dogg, Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, Morcheeba, Tower of Power, Ari Hoenig/Adam Rogers, Kenny Garrett, Yo-Yo Ma, Lucy Woodward, and Bilal, among many more. The group was conceived and is held together by award-winning bassist/guitarist/composer/arranger Michael League, whose creative grass-roots approach to a tougher-than-ever industry has created a most unique musical animal. It is a three-headed creature: first, and most obviously- an original music ensemble. Second- a production team and session band for individual artists. Third, and probably most importantly- Snarky Puppy is a group of musicians unanimously and enthusiastically committed to music education and community outreach. Working with groups like ROAM (Roots Of American Music) in inner city Cleveland and the Music Lab at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, as well as giving clinics at over 40 colleges, high schools, and middle schools worldwide, the band has made a strong commitment to spreading a love of music and general positivity to a young generation looking for something real to hold on to. Currently, Snarky Puppy is touring to prepare for their next live, in-studio album/DVD, to be recorded over 5 days in New Orleans this fall for Ropeadope Records.
Monique Atreece Zahir, better known as M/\Z, is a 22-year multi-genre singer, dancer, and producer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is best known for her visceral sound based in psychedelic soul and experimental trap, along with her ever-changing punk-goth aesthetic. She has garnered considerable buzz from various independent single releases, including her flip of PartyNextDoor’s “Persian Rugs” (28k + plays), the hauntingly infectious “Obsolete”, and her newest single “Zenith”, which vividly discusses the intricacies of attraction.
M/\Z’ relationship with music dates back to her
father, also a musician, and his studio, where her first visit as a 1year old resulted in her picking up a loose microphone and gurgling into it. From there, exploration of sound began. With influences ranging from Pink Floyd to Erykah Badu and everything in between, M/\Z insists on never allowing her art to remain stagnant or predictable.
“At the end of the day, I want people to feel. Feel love. Feel pain. Feel sexy. Feel fuckin sad. Really, just feel me. And I go into every song with that approach. ‘Genre’ really isn’t my thing, and I really don’t like to be called R&B, etc just because I look a certain way”
M/\Z is in the process of finishing her debut EP, “Pale Moon,” produced entirely by Ethereal from Awful Records in Atlanta and plans to release it before the top of 2016. The sound of the EP is a departure from her more trap-based material of the past and is more upbeat then previous work, still featuring her slinky vocal inflections and infectious melodies. In the meantime, she is has several curated performances in the near future, most notably being apart of the upcoming “Purple Lemondad” showcase at CMJ in NYC, as well as a string of dates in Los Angeles in late November.