Grammy Award-Winning Snarky Puppy Berlin Masterclass

13 November, 2015

It’s safe to say that the Grammy Award-winning Michael League of Snarky Puppy is becoming a fast favourite with the students in our BIMM Masterclasses, with not one but two brilliant BIMM Dublin sessions under his belt.

Michael leads and plays bass for the sprawling and eclectic musical collective, Snarky Puppy who are based in Brooklyn, New York. As well as working on their own fantastic music, the group have played and recorded with stars such as Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg, as well as a host of contemporary jazz greats.

At the end of October it was the turn of BIMM Berlin to enjoy a visit from Michael League as he made the trip over to our newest college campus to share with the students and staff his exciting and maverick outlook on music, songwriting and the industry.

Michael travelled back in time to talk about his childhood upbringing in South California where he craved a very different path to that of his military family, pursuing his musical aspirations as soon as he could, and starting out on the road that led to his current fame and creative successes with Snarky Puppy. Michael also described in some detail his own process for composing music.

When it came to perform something live in the session, Michael chose the much-loved bass line from ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’, originally played by bass icon James Jamerson. The class were enthusiastic in analysing the structure and power of the piece and Michael followed this up with a mind-blowing two-minute bass solo of his own.

Student Celine Newkirk took lots away from the exhilarating Masterclass:

It was really interesting to hear about the details of Michael’s creative process and it gave me some new ideas on how to approach my own songs and how to deal with writer’s block.”

Student Magnus Schroeter was also won over and inspired by Michael:

The most important thing for me was his songwriting tips – write everything on a Fender Rhodes and give it to your band mates and see what comes out of it! He is an absolutely adorable player, so I took something from that as well, especially the solo stuff. I also loved the James Jamerson bassline he showed us, really inspiring and melodic. He inspired me to get more into Jamerson because he is an amazing player who has influenced nearly everyone! Last but not least Michael is a total dude!”


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