Snarky Puppy and GroundUP Music will host the first annual GroundUP Music Festival in Miami Beach on February 10-12, 2017. Along with daily sets by Snarky Puppy, legendary singer-songwriter and Snarky Puppy collaborator David Crosby, John Medeski’s Mad Skillet (featuring Will Bernard and Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Kirk Joseph and Terrence Higgens), Charlie Hunter Trio featuring Jeff Coffin, Chris Thile & Michael Daves, The Lee Boys featuring Roosevelt Collier, Laura Mvula, Shelly Berg, Terence Blanchard, The Heavy Pets, Electric Kif, Nigel Hall and others will play the GroundUP Music Festival. The inaugural event will be held during the day at the North Beach Bandshell and the adjacent Palm Grove Park beachfront complex with intimate late night performances held at the Deauville Beach Resort.

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With their entrepreneurial spirit, Snarky Puppy and GroundUP Music chose to produce this entire festival independently, without any major sponsors or corporate promoter. They selected Miami for the ease of international travel, climate, global feel of the city, and richness in musical culture, with the goal of creating a lasting impact on the community. The first step towards building roots in the city is the partnership with the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and their great annual music festival, Festival Miami.

B.Getz of Upful Life and Live For Live Music stops thru with the BLP Can’t Miss List for the inaugural GroundUP Music Festival…

Festival host Snarky Puppy has become the most successful and visible of a slew of avante-garde jazz groups that jam, a scene coming of age in the past decade. The band has focused on building their unique foundation of funk, rock, hip-hop and electronic music. Snarky Puppy’s defining fabrics are their unwavering inventiveness, their chops and proficiency, and streamlined internal combustion topped with elevating, anthemic melodies and climaxes. For the most part, a wild but disciplined groove-centric instrumental act, the band has a rabid fan base and style that defies genre. Snarky Puppy, which has already won TWO Grammy awards and is nominated for another that will be revealed during this event, has carved out a strong niche with its patented brew of pumped-up funky jazz-fusion. The group’s style, a convergence of high precision execution and taking chances at breakneck speeds, makes them a fantastic live band experience, every night, guaranteed.

John Medeski’s Mad Skillet was born of a late night show in New Orleans during Jazz Fest in 2015. The mad professor of keys developed a squad with a focus on deep New Orleans groove steeped in jazz, blues, psychedelic rock and R&B. Grammy nominated guitarist/bandleader Will Bernard (Tom Waits, Stanton Moore Trio) plus New Orleans natives sousaphonist Kirk Joseph (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Backyard Groove) and drummer Terence Higgins (Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Ani DiFranco) round out the impressive lineup. Medeski and Bernard’s annual quest to gig together during Jazz Fest gleaned a unique chemistry with the addition of Joseph and Higgins. The eclectic, far-reaching backgrounds of Medeski and Bernard alongside this legendary NOLA rhythm section generated what Medeski calls “a vast musical universe with limitless potential.” Be ready for the heat on Sunday afternoon.

Many Americans are familiar with Terence Blanchard‘s music, even if they are unaware, as he’s scored every Spike Lee film since 1991 (Jungle Fever, Malcom X, Clockers, Summer Of Sam, 25th Hour and Inside Man) among many other mainstream soundtrack credits. Blanchard is an acclaimed jazz trumpeter, who combines a passion for the traditions of his native New Orleans with modern hard bop and an unflappable spirit of innovation. Antoine Batiste, a (fictional) main character on HBO’s critically acclaimed NOLA drama Treme, was reportedly created and modeled after Blanchard. A polished and dignified jazz group, Terence Blanchard’s high-functioning quintet reliably serves up sleek modernism in the form of post-bop jazz and is a must-see on Saturday afternoon.

Charlie Hunter is a living legend in the modern jazz diaspora and arrives celebrating the release of Let The Bells Ring, the Charlie Hunter Trio’s new album with Bobby Previte and Curtis Fowlkes. Like in the studio, this crew delivers tremendous live shows serving up a gritty, greasy and spirited gumbo of sound with deep-pocket grooves and a plethora of mind-bending guitar playing. Previte and Fowlkes (charter member of the Lounge Lizards and the Jazz Passengers), were both essential participants in the Downtown NYC scene of the 1970s and have worked together in countless settings over the years. Hunter and Previte have toured and recorded in various all-star cooperative ensembles such as The Coalition of the Willing and more recently Omaha Diner. The new tunes range from expansive and cinematic to twisted and frightening while always exciting, intelligent, hard-hitting and chock full of groove! Catch them complimented by the dynamic sax playing of Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones) Saturday afternoon.

Born a side project concept record, Ghost-Note has rapidly exploded into an exciting new era for Snarky Puppy’s Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth, with the addition of a live band. Members include Nick Werth on the Xylosynth, an instrument that combines the technologies of MPCs, samplers and synthesizers, Sylvester Onyejiaka on the flute, tenor and baritone sax, and A.J. Brown on bass. When these heavy-hitting cats assemble, they fuse worlds of percussion with thunderous, booty shaking rhythms, creating an explosive pulse and a night of energetic, unforgettable musical mayhem. Catch them late night Friday at Le Jardin Club.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a dozen years since The Heavy Pets burst onto the jam scene in 2005. In short order, the South Florida based band became a household name on the club circuit and spread to the festival world. There have been a couple changes through the years, but the current lineup has been together since August 2012, and their raw talent, energy and personality earned them a loud, rabid following. Channeling the best vibes within funk, reggae and jazzy-jam music, the Pets have developed into somewhat of a Floridian institution by their tireless touring. The boys stay steadily reinventing themselves while remaining true to their artistic integrity. Fans of debut album Whale, the softer more song-oriented Swim Out Past the Sun and the most recent EP series (Two Horses, Rags and Aces, Stolen Smile) will be satiated by the sublime jams, spirited singalongs, varied setlists and a constantly evolving sound palette. The Heavy Pets are no stranger to choice covers either, having recently paid tribute to the mighty catalogue of The Beatles with their Walrus tour cycle. GUM Fest is in for a real treat when the homecoming kings take this The Park Stage between Snarky Puppy and David Crosby on Friday night.

Electric Kif has steadily made a name for themselves in South Florida from their powerful live shows, “capturing the energy of execution in the fusion” of psychedelic funk, rock, soul and jazzy flavors. Formed in 2008, “The KIF” was born a Miami power trio featuring Eric Escanes on guitar (Flo Rida), Rodrigo “Digo” Zambrano on bass (Matt Schofield) and Armando Lopez on drums, each hailing from international backgrounds (France, Mexico and Costa Rica respectively). The band added Philly-native Jason Matthews on keys (Matt Schofield) to flesh out their “post-nuclear” sound, so much that Snarky Puppy’s resident organ maestro Cory Henry stopped by Lagniappe House to sit in on an Electric Kif gig in 2014. The future for these young wizards is bright, and the South Florida sun is no match for this globalized groove train once GroundUP rolls around.

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