The Crest Jazz Festival and the amazing Charles Pasi

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 2nd August 2012

As the moon rose over the mountains, the sky turned from pink to mauve. Below us, stalls sold tartines and glasses of Clairette de Die (the local sparkling wine), while little children skipped hand in hand with their parents.

My daughter leaned over and whispered in my ear. ‘I’ve never seen such a well-behaved audience at a festival before,’ she said, astonished that everyone was clapping along in unison.

This was Crest Jazz Vocal, one of the highlights of my summer. We’d bought tickets to see Mountain Men, a zany Franco-Australian jazz duo, and Charles Pasi, a French blues singer and harmonica player who’s so talented I can’t believe he isn’t a superstar already. Actually, he was a finalist in the international Memphis Blues Festival in 2006 so he’s doing pretty well.

The Crest jazz festival has been going for 37 years and attracts audiences of all ages. The best moment of the night was when Charles Pasi beckoned the front few rows to join him and his band onstage. We were sitting near the back, I’m glad to say, but loads of people jumped up with alacrity. An elderly man in a dazzling white suit and jaunty hat danced wildly, a woman with a rucksack on her back jived fit to drop and even one of the Mountain Men couldn’t resist joining in. Charles Pasi and his band took it all in their good-natured stride.

At that moment something brushed the top of my head. I whirled round to see a tiny flying creature soar up, up and away. It was a bat!

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