Ghost-Note (band)

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OriginDallas, Texas, US
Years active2014–present
  • Ropeadope
Associated acts
  • Robert "Sput" Searight
  • Nate Werth
  • AJ Brown
  • Dwayne "MonoNeon" Thomas
  • Sylvester Onyejiaka
  • Dominique Xavier Taplin
  • Jonathan Mones
  • Mike Jelani Brooks

Ghost-Note are a percussion-based funk, hip hop and jazz group[1] from Dallas, Texas[2], with a rotating membership based around founding drummer Robert "Sput" Searight and founding percussionist Nate Werth, two members of the jazz band Snarky Puppy. The group also includes bassist MonoNeon, a.k.a. Dywane Thomas Jr., keyboardist Dominique Xavier Taplin, saxophonist/flutist Michael Jelani Brooks, and saxophonist/flutist Sylvester Onyejiaka.[3]

Ghost-Note's two albums – Fortified and Swagism – both reached No. 1 on the iTunes Jazz Chart.


Robert "Sput" Searight founded God's Property, a gospel choir affiliated with Kirk Franklin.[1][4] Nate Werth was a music student at the University of North Texas and a member of Snarky Puppy, then playing jam sessions around Dallas. Searight and Werth performed together with Snarky Puppy through seven albums (of nine the group recorded during that time).[5]

In 2014, Searight and Werth wanted to create another band that would focus on percussion and what they termed "conscious funk".[6] They formed Ghost-Note and released their first album, Fortified, on the Ropeadope label in October 2015, incorporating influences from jazz, hip hop and EDM music.[1] Fortified featured Snarky Puppy keyboardist Shaun Martin, vocalist N'Dambi and guitarist Mark Lettieri, among others.[7] The album went to No. 1 on the iTunes Jazz chart.[8]

Swagism was Ghost-Note's second album, released in April 2018 on Ropeadope. This album also went to No. 1 on the iTunes Jazz chart.[9] It featured guitarist Raja Kassis, spoken word artist and author Prudence the Auset Sneed, saxophonist Kamasi Washington and guitarist Brandon "Taz" Neiderauer.[7] Matt Stieg of New York magazine wrote that, on Swagism, Searight and Werth "stretch their ensemble into all possible contortions, from CTI's disco to D'Angelo's funk. It's the omnivorous diet of J Dilla come to life in big-band form."[10]


Ghost-Note began touring in 2015. A rotating membership of musicians joined them onstage, including keyboardist Daniel Jones, xylosynth player Nick Werth, drummer Alvin Ford Jr[3] and bassist Cody Wright.[11] In 2018, the touring ensemble included bassist Dywane "MonoNeon" Thomas Jr., keyboardists Xavier Taplin and Vaughn "V.Keys" Henry, guitarist Peter Knudsen, and saxophonist/flutist Jonathan Mones.[2] The group has played the Edmonton International Jazz Festival,[12] the London Jazz Festival,[6] the TD Ottawa JazzFest,[13] and the Montreal Jazz Fest.[14] They have performed in Memphis, Chicago, San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Dallas, as well as at shows in Norway, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Stewart, Allison (March 23, 2017). "Ghost-Note is doing it all over again, from Snarky Puppy's famous roots". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b Arnaudin, Edwin (October 15, 2018). "Smart Bets: Ghost-Note". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b "This Weekend's Kids & Family Activities in Bronx". NY Metro Parents. June 13, 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ Setaro, Shawn (May 26, 2016). "The City You Love to Hate Makes Every Song You Love". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ Dunn, Patrick (March 29, 2017). "Ghost-Note is driven by the search for a groove". Detroit News. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  6. ^ a b Flynn, Mike (September 18, 2018). "EFG renews title sponsorship, Jazz Voice stars, Rymden and Jamie Baum for EFG London Jazz Fest". Jazz Wise Magazine. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Ghost-Note Gets Down, Gets Funky & Gets Loose On 'Swagism'". Soul Bounce. March 5, 2018. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  8. ^ "On Stage: Jazz Fest comes to Oak Bay". Oak Bay News. June 22, 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Enter "Deep In The Swag" With Ghost-Note As New Video Highlights 'Swagism' Creation". Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  10. ^ Stieg, Matt (June 4, 2018). "Your June Jazz Calendar Ten top-tier jazz shows to catch this month". New York magazine. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  11. ^ Robertson, Graham (June 19, 2018). "Ghost-Note and Backbeat Underground Give Funk Flavors a Powerful Kick". DC Music Review. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  12. ^ Levesque, Roger (June 23, 2018). "International acts head for the cutting edge at jazz fest". Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Ghost-Note". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  14. ^ Dunlevy, T'Cha (June 30, 2018). "Jazz fest picks for June 30, 2018: Kamasi Washington, Spanish Harlem Orchestra". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  15. ^ Deflin, Kendall (September 27, 2018). "Ghost-Note Announces Fall 2018 European Tour". Live for Live Music. Retrieved 19 October 2018.

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