Snarky Puppy is one of the most talented and dynamic groups in music today. With a Grammy behind them and an always-expanding fan base, the jazz-fusion ensemble performs with confidence and excitement. With an amazing turnout at their show Sunday, September 13th at The Howlin Wolf in New Orleans, the band well made up for the weather-related cancellation of their Jazz Fest performance in May.

To many, music is religion. Being present while Snarky Puppy took stage at The Howlin Wolf this weekend was truly spiritual. There was an undeniable connection between the audience and the music, and band leader/composer/bassist/guitarist Michael League declared, “this is the best audience we have ever had in New Orleans”. While there is never anything cookie-cutter about a Snarky Puppy experience. This particular show was especially extraordinary. The energy in the room flowed freely between the band and their adoring crowd. No member of the audience’s attendance was a mistake – a remarkable percentage of the crowd had traveled from other states to catch the band before they embark on their massive three-month world tour.

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Snarky Puppy’s incredible group improvisational powers, as well as their sharp individual talents make the collective’s jams incomparably clean. Even more astounding was the attentiveness of the crowd as they sang out instrumental pieces with the members of Snarky Puppy clapping along in encouragement.

No New Orleans throwdown is complete without special guests infiltrating at least a few pieces. NO’s own Eric “Benny” Bloom & Nigel Hall graced the stage to jam with the band. Hometown keyboardist Cory Henry was absent, but in his place sat Shaun Martin, who added a comedic layer to the performance, and even sang a few lines of Jaime Foxx & T-Pain’s ‘Blame it on the Alcohol’, the only lyrics sang all night. The audience members either erupted laughing or took the liberty of belting out the lyrics themselves.

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Though Snarky Puppy features some of the country’s most talented and respectable jazz musicians, there was a playful vibe all night. The band didn’t take themselves too seriously, and their appreciation towards the audience was obvious and charming.

Those who were there were glad to learn that Snarky Puppy is now recording all of their performances and the audience from The Howlin Wolf can relive their experience on September 20th. To those who weren’t there – you can catch the audio from Sunday’s show, as well as others, on the band’s website one week following each performance.

Words by Emily Ferretti, Photos by Katie Sikora and Jeffrey Dupuis. Full Gallery: