Major buzz about Snarky Puppy featuring August 2014 BP cover artist Michael League led to a sold-out show at the SFJAZZ Center’s immaculate Miner Auditorium. The band—which was technically a mixture of Resident Artistic Director Eric Harland’s players along with League and a few of his Pups—delivered a show worthy of the hype, and happenings in the ensemble’s low register were wrought with intrigue.
League essentially acted as player/manager would in baseball. He simultaneously put on an expressive, intricate bass performance while shouting, sending signals, and cueing the ten-player ensemble through a mixture of Snarky songs and imaginative versions of jazz classics. He also acted as a conduit for Harland to get his original ideas across.
The bass story was particularly deep, considering up to four players worked the low end at given times—League on Fender Precision Bass, Harish Raghavan on upright, Taylor Eigsti on piano/keyboards, and SP’s Justin Stanton on keyboards including synth bass. Luckily, all four were incredibly considerate of the collective, and kept the whole evening miraculously musical.
League and Raghavan’s moment-to-moment interplay was a show of its own. League’s ability to coax unobtrusive tones via his P-Bass and a Markbass rig, and Raghavan’s ability to make his upright sound clear and pronounced via an Aguilar rig pleasantly blurred lines between electric and acoustic bass.
Michael League (left) and Harish Raghavan react to the music.
League and Harland lock eyes while Raghavan lies out.
League enjoys a moment.
League and Raghavan tack a turn together.
League and Raghavan with BP Presents event coordinator Jimmy Leslie (middle).
BP in good company.
Kevin Lou holds his autographed copy of Bass Player’s August issue with League on the cover.