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If this wild, wet and windy weather is making you feel a bit sleepy and wanting to get tucked under the covers, go hit some gigs at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival (31 May to 9 June) for a jolt of energising, inspirational and blow-your-socks-off instrumental ensembles and vocalists.

One of the highlight gigs for me on the weekend was Dallas/Brooklyn jazz and funk fusion instrumental outfit Snarky Puppy making their Australian debut in the weird Roman-get up of the Forum (and one of my favourite live music venues in Melbourne). For a band that is a bit of an underground cult secret I was surprised to see the line to get in snaked all the way up Hosier Lane. And I felt I was definitely not cool enough for the mostly youthful audience – not your stereotypical jazz geeks in berets.

The band consists of seven members (and with up to 30 musicians collectively rotating) who play guitar, keyboards, saxophone, brass, percussion and drums. Each musician got to show off their skill in extended improvisations and the interplay between the percussion and drummer was a particularly dynamic partnership. If I was sleepy before the show, I certainly wasn’t now! The show was a wall of sound and danceable beats and the mosh pit was a grooving hive of moving bodies from start to finish. You simply couldn’t resist the band’s infectious enthusiasm for the music and those relentless funk beats.

Due to popular demand Snarky Puppy are playing a second show at Melbourne’s premiere jazz club Bennett’s Lane on Tuesday 4 June. Given that Bennett’s Lane is a very intimate venue I imagine the band will be raising the roof in riotous melody tomorrow night. Even if you’re not a jazz fan (or a novice like me), don’t miss it! [Second show now sold out! There’s a third late night 10pm show happening on Tuesday 4 June – snap up your tickets and experience these guys before it’s too late! Click here to book http://bit.ly/18IGjQC]

PS In a nice coincidence blog favourite Laneway Learning is hosting an ‘Introduction to Jazz‘ class at Shebeen Bar on Monday 1 July. The class only costs $12 and will cover the history and evolution of jazz for absolute novices. If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about, this is the class for you!