I don't want to turn this into a gushy thing about Snarky Puppy. But this sort of music is relatively new to me. Rather, this sort of musical experience is new to me. They hipped me to a whole new way of listening and playing to music. Let me explain from the beginning.
I first saw Snarky Puppy live about 2 years ago in Boston. I had listened to them a bit before, liked it but didn't love it. I had many friends who really enjoyed their music, so I knew that there was something to it. The show was incredible. I had seen many great shows prior to this, but this one had something new in it. it was like a physical experience as well as an aural one. The depth of the groove was so powerful that moving your body was an involuntary experience. Afterwards, my perception of music had changed, and what I was listening for, or rather feeling for, was completely different. I was going back to all of this music that I loved, especially jazz, and finding that it too had the same intense rhythmic pocket, though it was never so obvious. And, of course, there's so much other information going by that the pocket isn't really the focus of the music; however, it is the foundation.
I was lucky to see Snarky Puppy again last year, this time in Paris playing with the Metropol Orkest at a sold out show. The energy was so high in the Olympia Theatre that by the end of the show, the balcony was shaking because so many people were dancing. What other instrumental group can do this? This band has really been teaching me so much about music. How to make something simple enough to be immediately relatable but still complex and interesting enough to grab the attention of more astute listeners, and (more importantly) so groovy that you can help but move and dance.
More recently I've discovered D'Angleo's newest record, Black Messiah. This record is 100% a groove experience. Very simple songwriting, lots of jamming and riffs, but the pocket. Amazing. You can't help but move and groove and make that funny face that musicians (or listeners) make when it's getting really intense: the stank face.
So, these two guys (Mike League and D'Angelo) have really opened up an entirely new aspect of music that was bubbling just under the surface of my awareness. Please hip yourself to these cats!