Dick and Christa Hughes – 21st Century Blues

dick and christa small

The Space Theatre

Dick and Christa Hughes return to the 2010 Cabaret Festival on the back of the release of 21st Century Blues, their first collaborative recording. Last at the festival in 2005, the legendary jazz piano man and his prodigious daughter (Machine Gun Fellatio/Circus Oz) present a mix of old and new with a set encompassing old-school piano jazz, reinterpreted classics and a number of Christa Hughes originals including the hilariously tongue-in-cheek ‘Swine Flu Blues’.

Steering clear of the straight and narrow, songs about intoxication, reefer and pigs are hot on the bill, with Christa incorporating a number of unconventional vocal aids including a megaphone and a pint of beer. The two are joined at various points by Bob Barnard on trumpet and Arthur Grant on trombone.

The contrast between Dick and Christa is entertaining and adds much to the dynamic of the performance. Christa’s outlandish wardrobe and commentary keep the audience entertained and possibly, depending on your sensitivities, a little aghast. Regardless of whether her fashion sense and humour appeal, her voice and stage presence speak for themselves. Between chugs of beer she belts out number after number with gusto and theatrics, while Dick fills costume change gaps with sublime piano numbers and tales from his colourful youth. A wonderful night of jazz and blues for those with a taste for a modern twist.

Nicole Russo