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The New Cool: Ghost-Note swaggers back to the Northwest

Ghost-Note drummer Robert "Sput" Searight at last summer's Victoria Jazz Festival.
Parker Miles Blohm
Ghost-Note drummer Robert "Sput" Searight at last summer's Victoria Jazz Festival.

They began as a side project of the band Snarky Puppy, but by now Ghost-Note have established themselves as an exciting group in their own right. The the double-drummer led band of Robert "Sput" Searight and Nate Werth are double-dipping in the Northwest with shows at Seattle's Nectar Lounge Aug. 7, and Olympia's Rhythm & Rye Aug. 8.

The first iteration of Ghost-Note in 2015 was simply Searight's drum kit and Werth's percussion set up, releasing Fortified in 2015 with Searight's keys work and a number of special guests. The addition of bassist Mono Neon and saxophonist Sylvester Onyejiaka marked a turn from "drum group" to what they call "conscious funk."

The co-leaders' jazz roots were pushed further into the background as Ghost-Note focused on fusing funk with hip-hop, progressive rock and global rhythms. 2018's Swagism went to the top of the iTunes jazz chart, ranging from psychedelic disco energy to future soul. The collection's vinyl edition was just released by Ropeadope Records in May.

Searight and Werth have been phasing out of Snarky Puppy, with Werth's percussion featured on just a few songs from their recent album, Immigrance. That's by design, as the collective has encouraged band members to create their own music from the beginning. Current spinoff bands include Forq, Bokanté, and Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles.

It's Ghost-Note at the top of that list, though. Footage of their live recreation of the Swagism album at the New Orleans Jazz Festival from this spring was recorded and may be released as "some sort of HBO concept movie," Searight says.

KNKX's master of video, Parker Miles Blohm, gathered his own exclusive footage of the band at last summer's Victoria Jazz Festival you can check out below. Tickets are already going fast for their shows in Olympia and Seattle next month, so don't delay.

You'll hear the title song from Swagism Saturday afternoon on The New Cool. Until then, here's their performance of the song from last year's festival.

The New Cool airs Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.