Thursday evening at Jefferson Center, venue employees and international jazz-funk act Snarky Puppy’s Michael League presented a sneak preview of the DVD Snarky Puppy Family Dinner, shot in March at the Jeff’s Shaftman Hall. After watching the full DVD and bonus clips, I have to say that the show was sicker than I remembered — and I remember it being pretty, pretty, pretty sick.
For starters, I only got to see and hear one set before hustling back to the office to write my review. During that set, Lalah Hathaway’s work was the most intense — she split her voice in two near the end of her cover of “It’s Something.” That was wild enough for me, but I heard later that she split it into three harmonizing parts in the second set. And sure enough, bassist (and DVD c0-director) League used the second set version. The chills came when I heard it. The DVD is worth it for that superhuman feat alone, but there are a ton of other good performances, as well.
Turns out, I didn’t give nearly enough review love to Malika Tirolien. Jump to close, though, the eight-song DVD is loaded with iron-strong work from Snarky Puppy’s guests and fiery playing from the band itself.
Bonus clips included Music Lab at Jefferson Center alumna Judi Jackson and lab students Jayna and Gabe Morales (who also assisted with filming). Their clips were shot during the following night’s concert, presented to a full Jefferson Center audience. League said that a portion of the sales will go to the music lab, and in the DVD, he points to the kids’ performances as reasons that “this thing should be supported.”
You can pre-order it now, via http://snarkypuppy.ropeadope.com/album/family-dinner-volume-1. The album is $10.99. The DVD is $18.98.
My assessment: This piece of work beautifully represents Roanoke’s most progressive venue and its talented youth — and it shows off some wildly creative performers from around the country working with one of the great bands of its genre.