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No Cover: Michael League

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michael League is a young composer and bassist whose funk jazz quintet played one of the Undead Jazz Festivals final sets. He performed as the Michael League/Ari Hoenig Group with John Ellis, Sam Barsh & Mike Maher from Snarky Puppy on flugelhorn.


Hometown: Brooklyn, NY (by way of Texas)

The Facts: Michael League is an up and coming composer and bassist who at the tender age of 26 has already performed with such luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Dave Brubeck, Adam Rogers, and John Ellis. He also performs with several different ensembles including the Dallas based “Snarky Puppy” who just finished recording their fourth album. He also plays in and writes music for the Birdland Big Band, has worked with the biggest names in gospel music (Kirk Franklin, Walter Hawkins, Marvin Sapp, Myron Butler), and is included in Cicily Janus’s book, “The New Face of Jazz.”

Latest Release: Snarky Puppy, "Bring Us The Bright. (A new Snarky Puppy album "Tell Your Friends", comes out on Ropeadope in September). 

The Sound: Uber dynamic funk jazz ensemble led by its polyrhythmic rhythm section bassist League and drummer Ari Hoenig who direct this new group through their wending compositions. Check out Leaguess mighty bass chops on Intelligent Design (13:55) and Hoenigs deft drumming on his preternaturally funky composition Green Spleen (38:10) (for which Hoenig a Day of the Dead skeleton mask).

He Said/She Said:  "Bassist Michael Leagues jazz-funk quartet played one of the last sets of the fest. Dummer Ari Hoenig provided a spectacle, not only laying down killer beats, but humorously toying with the other musicians and Leagues syncopated compositions." - Joe DeFranceschi, Time Out

"Just keeping up with [Snarky Puppys] stylistic impulses is like playing jazz geek fantasy league. Influences range from the jazz/funk of Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters to the dance and pop/rock of Michael Jackson and Prince. Neo-soul, chamber music, acoustic jazz, Brazilian and Balkan music fit into the mix as well."  - Tad Dickens, Roanoke Times

Undead Jazzfest Setlist:

1. Flood (League)

2. Intelligent Design (League)

3. Earflower (League)

4. Green Spleen (Hoenig)




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Comments [3]

Amy Simmons from Detroit, Mi

I love Dave Brubeck & the fact you've preformed with huim speaks volumes to me...and THEN I hear this & proclaim: No Brubeck necessary; League is in a "league" of his own!

Nov. 23 2010 07:46 PM
Jermi Anderson from Detroit, MI

I want to give you PROPS and say THANK YOU for sharing your music with us freely! I appreciate it more than can be expressed through text. Please continue sharing.

Nov. 23 2010 04:43 PM
Sarah Crisman from Denton, TX

Thank you so much for sharing this set. I was unable to be in the city for Undead, so this is a special treat.

I know I am not just speaking for myself when I say that Michael League is among the most influential musicians in the world of undead jazz and balls-out great music.

Jun. 27 2010 05:14 AM

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