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Stepping Aside From The Spectacle of Snarky Puppy, Justin Stanton Finds His 'Secret Place'

Stella K
Justin Stanton

We know Justin Stanton as one of the original members of Snarky Puppy, a band that thrives in a state of constant collaboration. But this trumpeter and keyboardist considers it important to find moments for himself, looking inward as a composer — as on his debut album, Secret Place.

“Music is a very social thing and certainly in Snarky Puppy, it is a way to bring people together,” Stanton says. “To me, there is a special part of music where you experience it yourself and maybe you have the chance to sit with a record and you have your headphones in. It’s a nice way to be insular with the music, and take it in in a different way. It sort of resonates differently than in a group setting, which is equally important. I feel like it’s two sides of the same coin.”

Stanton takes us inside his own headphones to reveal the music that personally made an impact on him — Wendy Carlos, the under-appreciated artist who “switched-on” Bach, arranging his classical compositions for one of the earliest Moog synthesizers. Stanton also cites the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, and a bootleg by the Miles Davis Quintet.

Our conversation concludes with glimpses of a musical experiment:  Snarky Puppy’s performance with a 16-piece Daf ensemble at the 2019 Istanbul Jazz Festival. Michael League makes a special cameo appearance to discuss his study of the ancient Kurdish frame drum.


Credit Simon Rentner
Snarky Puppy with Daf at the Istanbul Jazz Festival

Check out Snarky Puppy's recording from the Istanbul Jazz Festival here.

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For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.