Observations from Snarky Puppy

Playing music in a band is like being in a football team.  Each player knows the role he plays in the overall team.  The success of the team depends on how well they play together and support each other during the game.  We all know how badly a team can play when the team refuses to play together as a team.  Even teams with individually brilliant players can perform very badly when they don’t play as a team.  Similarly a band can have individually brilliant musicians but can sound very mediocre (at best) when they don’t play together as team.

Before his mind blowing solo in the song Lingus, Corey Henry was hardly noticeable for the first 4 minutes 40 seconds of the song.  The other keyboardist in that song Shaun Martin doesn’t even seem to feature at all in the song (but that guy is also not to be trifled with; he got mad skills).  I bring this up because it made me realize something about truly talented musicians.  They don’t always feel the need to display all they can do in each song they play.  Together with the other musicians they work as a team to give the best possible rendition of the song they are playing. So during the keyboard solo, what the rest of the band plays adds on to the solo and makes it that much more special.

Bands like Snarky Puppy are brilliant not because of the brilliance of the individual musicians in the band but because of how well they play together as a team.

So when next you are playing with a band ask yourself these questions.  Is what I am playing adding to or distracting from the overall music?

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