By: Mat Shiley
In the midst of a frigid Chicago night, fans gathered in the warm arms of Lincoln Hall to hear experimental jazz group Resavoir headline night four of Chicago’s Tomorrow Never Knows music festival.
Following exceptional performances from drummer and multi instrumentalist, Luke Titus, and local pop duo Valebol, Resavoir took the stage. This nine-piece ensemble, lead by trumpeter Will Miller featured many top tier Chicago jazz musicians such as Akenya Seymour, Jeremy Cunningham, and Lane Beckstrom all of whom will be releasing albums later this year.
Miller is most famously known for his work with Whitney as well as many other renowned artists such as A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, and the late Mac Miller, but his latest project — Resavoir — fully showcases the excellence that lies within Miller’s writing and playing capabilities.
The show began with a new track reminiscent of some of the sample-based tunes of local jazz artist Makaya McCraven. The band floated through the first few songs of their set effortlessly, each member playing with an incredible attentiveness to those around them. With a nine-piece group, it was astounding to see how well balanced the sound was. No one member stood out, and the sound was very open and light despite the size of the band.
With their song titles mirroring a journey through the sky, Resavoir took the audience by the hand and led us on an odyssey as the show progressed, taking flight, passing through the clouds, and looking upon the earth’s plants. The music ebbed and flowed in a way that captivated the audience, traveling from euphoric highs and chaotic fervor to quiet intimacy and reflection.
The soloists themselves interacted in a very conversational manner, building off of those before them, and setting up those after them. No musician overstepped their bounds and they fit together like a puzzle—no one individual standing out from the rest. Their cohesion made the music feel natural, comfortable, and effortless to those watching. The melodies manifested through these improvisations allowed the audience to feel as though they were individually interacting with each musician in listening to the unique sound each brought to the table. Miller said it best during the show “I feel I have found the cheat code to putting a band together…everyone is a leader in their own right.”
Resavoir turned their 29-minute record into a show that lasted over an hour. With each song extending close to twice its normal length, the band experimented and pushed each song beyond its boundaries, and in doing so, created a priceless experience that has their fans begging for more.