Synth, sax and serenity

Dark Matter takes the stage on opening night of Jazz In The Garden

Lauren Hernandez, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

On Friday, March 31, the San Antonio Parks Foundation presented the first date of six nights of jazz music in the Japanese Tea Garden at Brackenridge Park. In partnership with Trinity University’s radio station, KRTU 97.1, the seventh season of Jazz In The Garden features three spring and three fall dates with performances from local and regional jazz bands. 

On Friday night, the gardens were packed with hundreds of people sitting on blankets and lawn chairs listening to Dark Matter’s first-ever live performance. Dark Matter is a jazz band from San Antonio consisting of Brandon Guerra on drums and keys, Nick Mery on vocals and guitar, Jason Galbraith and Adam Carrillo on sax and keys, Mike Gomez on drums, keys and synth and Damian Rodriguez on bass. They performed music from the albums “Modern Addict,” “After Now” and “DEATHBLOOM,” which was most recently released on Feb. 15, 2022. 

DEATHBLOOM” was inspired by the winter storm that hit Texas in Feb. 2021, and the songs from this album were insane to hear live. Their sound consisted of electronic synths, intricate saxophone melodies and rambling drums with samples of media such as weather reports and news segments incorporated throughout. For several songs, interpretive dancers from sumRset Dance performed in front of the stage. All of these elements together added to the tranquility of the gardens and kept the audience thoroughly entertained.  

Dru Cone, an audience member who came to the Japanese Tea Garden to support the local music scene, said that her favorite song that Dark Matter performed was “100 hours (freezing).” Although this song is one of the shortest on their album, coming in at less than a minute long, Cone explained that she “loved the improvisation of it. They made a short song long enough to connect with everyone in the audience.” 

Her husband, Tim Cone, who coincidentally helped design and build The Paisano office, elaborated.

“We think this event is just awesome,” Cone said. “It’s a beautiful night, and it’s great to see so many people out here.” 

You will not want to miss the next few nights of Jazz In The Garden. On April 14, Nori, an eclectic modern jazz band from Austin, Texas, is playing, and Three Swings & a Miss is wrapping up the spring dates on April 28. In the fall, CarbonLily will be playing on Sept. 8, Gerry Gibbs Thrasher People on Oct. 13 and The Bluprint on Nov. 3.

All of these events, including everything hosted by the San Antonio Parks Foundation, are free and open to the public, so take advantage of the free fun time.