On August 1st the Alexis Lanier (Lombre) Quartet opened up for Victor Garcia at the Jay Pritkzer Pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park. Here’s a review we received along with the video of the performance.
“I returned to Millennium Park on Thursday afternoon, arriving around 4 PM for the second installment of their Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz 2013 series. I caught up with a fellow jazz enthusiast who had decided to meet me there and beat me there. He had marked off some real estate on the grass with a clear view of the stage. With still more than two hours left before show time, sound checks were in progress.
I had enjoyed Victor Garcia’s performance a few weeks earlier at The Courtyard in Hyde Park, so I was in eager anticipation of his Millennium appearance. However, his band’s performance was upstaged by that of the opening act. I had seen it coming. During the sound check, pianist Alexis Lanier was leading her group through opening act rehearsals, with vibraphonist Thaddeus Tukes masterfully percussing through Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night In Tunisia.” It was the shape of things to come.
Garcia’s twelve-piece orchestra, which included a string quartet, didn’t approach my Latin jazz expectations as he tended to stay away from salsa or mambo rhythms, opting instead to serve up sounds that were of Spanish or Mexican origins. His Hyde Park performance had been one that was basically straight-ahead jazz, which might have been more palatable here as I watched more and more people exit their seats following each musical selection.
But the evening was not a bust. I came away encouraged by the Brubeck-like deftness of the sixteen year old Alexis, a junior at Whitney Young, and the vibraphonic skill of nineteen year old Thaddeus, a Northwestern sophomore who conjured up memories of the late Milt Jackson. Jazz is not dead as long as blossoms such as these are blooming on its tree.” –Fred Dunham, 2013.