Last Friday, Snarky Puppy unleashed the much-anticipated sequel to their 2013 record, Family Dinner Volume 1. The premise of the Family Dinner collections is to have various musicians come together to reinvent one of their songs with Snarky Puppy as their backing band. The first volume was a wonderful addition to Snarky Puppy’s catalog, but I can honestly say that Family Dinner Volume 2 surpasses it, and by no small margin. Volume 2 is a celebration of music, so have a seat and dig in.
Family Dinner Volume 2 has to be one of the most diverse records I have ever heard. Volume 1 featured R&B singers for the majority of the album, which felt natural for a jazz fusion band which draws heavily from that area. This time around, the guests they have brought in come from all over the world. These musicians are drawing deep from many musical traditions and shaping them into a new context. Each track is not just about celebrating the music from a storied culture, it’s about celebrating the evolution of music, and the fact that music always serves the purpose of creating something new.
Another improvement from Volume 1 to 2 is the degree of collaboration. While Volume 1 featured one vocalist on each song, Volume 2 has several features on every song, many of whom are instrumentalists. This breeds unique blends of folk, jazz, R&B, pop, and electronic music. Enhancing the sharing spirit even further, many musicians who are not part of Snarky Puppy join the band for many songs without being listed as a feature.
It is because Family Dinner Volume 2 is so much about the creative process that I strongly recommend picking up the CD/DVD and watching the whole thing happen. Seeing these musicians interact in the live recording of each song emphasizes the joy and universality of music. Clips from interviews with the musical guests give the viewer a feel for who these artists are and where their music comes from. After watching the DVD, it feels like there are a thousand new artists that I want to check out. A few standounts for me are Väsen, Laura Mvula, Becca Stevens, Jacob Collier, and KNOWER.
It looks like I’ll have a lot of new music to delve into in the next little while, and you might as well if you give Family Dinner Volume 2 a try.