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