In what is historically regarded as one of the most significant Colorado landmarks, Denver City Park is known for its vibrant and popular summer Jazz concert season. This year, the park celebrates its 30th anniversary of the Jazz Summer Concert series that derived from a tradition that is more than a century old for Denver City Park. The second concert in this summer’s series featured one of Denver’s most widely regarded female Jazz singers, Lannie Garrett. The sizeable crowd, which branched out on all sides of the Pavilion on June 12, was proof that Garrett and her band were an exceptional pick to kick off the 2016 City Park concert season. The dark clouds that began to cover the parks skyline before the show indicated that rainy weather for the performance was inevitable. However, spirits remained high as the majority of the audience members were seen immediately raising their umbrellas and suiting themselves with tarps when the first drops fell during the first number.
After the roaring of the opening applause introduced Garrett to the stage, the bright grin from the singer’s face never faltered for the rest of the performance. The show on Sunday marked Garrett’s first show at Denver City Park in nearly 15 years.
“I’ve done a lot of outdoor concerts. I haven’t done one in a long time, so this is kind of a nostalgic feeling for me. I think I played at the City Park Jazz Fest maybe 15-20 years ago and People’s Fair back in the day, so this is fun,” Garrett said.
Along with providing excellent chanteuse renditions of popular Jazz songs from artists such as Benny Goodman, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennet, Garrett delivered her signature and captivating stage presence. From the moment Garrett stepped onto stage, the singer was seen swinging and interacting with the audience. From dancing with individual audience members on the stage floor, to inviting kids on stage to boogie with her, Garrett made bonding with her audience the priority during the show.
“I think for anyone who knows me, people know that I love to entertain a crowd. It’s not about the singing, although I love to sing. It’s not about just the music, although I love the music. It’s totally about the people,” Garrett said. “And the thing about the City Park Jazz Festival is that there are going to be all kinds of people here from every walk of life and every age and that’s what I absolutely adore and am looking forward to.”
Following the end to the second number, the sun made its welcoming return, bringing with it a festive light as more people moved to the front of the stage to dance the evening away. From the beginning, the legacy of City Park Jazz has been to bring the local community and various cultures of Denver together to enjoy free music and dancing. Garrett’s infectious optimism and entertaining performance Sunday night provided a testament that City Park Jazz’s legacy is as strong as ever.
Interview with Lannie Garrett and audience members at City Park Jazz on June 12.
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