Carterton’s Kate Marshall, a regular at Jazz in Martinborough. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

For Kate Marshall, music is in her veins.

She’s been dabbling in it ever since she was a toddler, and flute, piano, violin, and guitar are just a few of the instruments she’s mastered.

She also sings, and she’ll be showing off her skills at Jazz in Martinborough, which kicked off on Wednesday.

Performing at the annual festival will not be a first for the Carterton music teacher.

The multi-instrumentalist has been involved with the festival since it was founded in 2011 by the late Ian Cresswell.

Marshall said she was classically trained, “very tied to what was written on the page”, so jazz was a breath of fresh air.

“I really do enjoy the freedom to improvise, to make up bits here and there, and to do it differently every time.

“And I enjoy a lot of the chord progressions. They’re just really interesting and I like trying to find a particular note that really sings – I just love it.”

She said her large family gatherings usually revolved around song and dance.

All her siblings are musical, and her partner Bob Cooper-Grundy is a well-known slide guitarist. She’s passed on her talents to her three sons, one of whom has also performed at the jazz festival.

Family jam sessions usually tended towards blues numbers, she said.

At a Wairarapa Harvest Festival a few years ago, she ended up performing on stage with several relatives.

This year – being the 125th anniversary of New Zealand women winning the right to vote – the festival is dedicated to female jazz musicians.

“It’s a really nice slant to have women in jazz noticed and it’s great Erna Ferry is coming because she’s been a solid jazz singer for quite some time,” Marshall said.

Marshall and Cooper-Grundy will play together on Saturday at 3pm at Ventana Creative Collective.

The event is free.

She said the jazz festival was an amazing asset for the region. “It’s neat to see music in shops, music outside shops, it just really pulls people in, it’s lovely.”

There will be three ticketed events during the festival, with more than 30 free music gigs performed throughout Martinborough over the weekend.