I wasn’t able to make it to the 2010 Mesilla Jazz Happening & Wine Hop this year, but my son Jason Pofahl was there and has this guest post.
Imagine walking through a 200 year old plaza on a beautiful fall day in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The sound of live jazz music, the aroma of fresh tortillas and roasting green chillies fill the air. Thanks to the 9th Annual Jazz Happenings and Wine Hop, these were just a few of the sights, sounds and smells I was able to enjoy.
The free event put together by the Old Mesilla Association and the Mesilla Valley Jazz and Blues Society, was held last weekend (Oct. 2-3) on the Plaza at Old Mesilla. The event attracted hundreds of people who to showed up from all surrounding areas. The event featured a number of local and world renowned jazz acts and featured some of the areas finest wineries.
As I walked into the town square early Saturday afternoon there were already hundreds of people gathered around the music stage that had been constructed for the event. Families strolled up and down the sidewalks ducking in and out of different shops and restaurants. The doors and stands of the local wineries were open, inviting anyone to take a sample sample or purchase a bottle of a local wine. Restaurant patios were all full of people tasting the finest, authentic New Mexican cuisine that the southwest has to offer. Other people were taking photos of all the great sites, or just soaking in the atmosphere and history of the old pueblo town.
The event kicked off at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The opening act was the Curt Warren and Erik Unsworth Duo, a jazz guitarist and bassist with a smooth and sophisticated sound. The crowd immediately responded with claps and cheers as the duo began to perform their amazing solos and riffs. Throughout the rest of the day the crowd was treated to the sounds of a great line up that included: the Border Jazz Quintet, Big Band On The Rio Grand, and Marty Olivas & Jazz Q. With amazing restaurants such as La Posta, Emilia’s, and the Double Eagle, it was hard to decide where to eat. Plus, Vintage Wines, Luna Rossa Winery, and the Amaro Winery were just a few of the favored wineries featured at the event.
Day two of the event was just as good. I saw many of the same faces in the crowd.The final artists of the day were the Diffusion Saxophone Quartet, the Mack Goldsbury Quartet and the Jazz Unlimited Orchestra. Sunday was a perfect day to enjoy jazz on the Plaza. The clouds blanketed the sky, keeping the weather mild as the Jazz Unlimited Orchestra brought the event to a close with a great performance. By 8 p.m. the final band wrapped-up and the crowd started to head out. However, many people stuck around to enjoy the little town for just a few more hours and shop.
Mesilla Jazz Happenings and Wine Hop was a wonderful event for families, couples, and individuals looking for a great time filled with jazz, spirit and southwest culture. If you missed the event this year, make sure to marked it on your calendar for next year. Thanks go out to the Old Mesilla Association and the Mesilla Valley Jazz and Blues Society for making it all possible.
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