International Jazz and Blues Festival, but with a local flavour

Midge Marsden
Midge Marsden

Last night was the second of The Press Headerliners concerts for this year’s Jazz and Blues festival. Although it is billed as an international festival last night had a distinctly local flavour with local boy Harry Harrison organising a feast of home-grown talent to take us through the history of the blues. From the simple yet haunting sounds of vocals, harmonica and slide guitar to full on horns and electric guitars the first half of the show truly covered a lot of ground.

In the second half the band were joined by Midge Marsden, not quite so local, but still a Kiwi. Not being a Kiwi myself, I didn’t know much about these two ‘legends’ (as the publicity described them) so before I went to the show I made sure I brushed up on them both by borrowing some CDs from the library. Midge even bemoaned the fact that when he wanted to listen to one of his own earlier records the only place he could find it was Trademe, for a vastly inflated price…I wonder if he tried our catalogue? We do try and keep a good back catalogue of significant New Zealand artists. The whole show reminded me just how broad a genre blues is, from its early African American roots to the cross over with country, jazz and rock.

Today the festival ended with Taste Jazz, an open air concert lasting all afternoon at the Arts Centre Quad. Accompanying the music were 10 food and wine stalls. Again the flavour was local with acts such as Pacific Underground, Stu Buchanan and Naomi Ferguson amongst others. Again the styles were varied and being outdoors and with adding good food and wine to the mix it all led to a laid back kind of an afternoon. A lovely way to end the week.