Jazz Preview: Festival pays tribute to the spirit of Reinhardt

This being Django Reinhardt's centenary year, it is pleasing that master guitarist Martin Taylor has reformed his excellent Spirit of Django group after a 15- year hiatus, and will be appearing at next month's Scarborough Jazz Festival.

The new band, which includes Alan Barnes on reeds and singer Alison Burns, has made an album, Last Train to Hauteville, consisting largely of original pieces by Taylor plus three French standards.

Scarborough is part of an extensive tour paying homage to the memory of Reinhardt.

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Saxophonist Tim Whitehead's contribution to the festival was kindled by the work of the great 19th century English painter JMW Turner. He developed the idea while he was artist in residence at Tate Britain and the result is a well reviewed album, and concert appearances. Each piece is inspired by Turner paintings which will be projected behind the band in the Ocean Room at Scarborough Spa. This is designed to make the performances absorbing for eyes and ears as Tim and his colleagues Liam Noble, Olli Hayhurst, Pat Betttison and Milo Fell react to the images.

Another unusual feature on the festival agenda is a dramatised tribute to Chet Baker by the writer and actor Mike Maran. Baker, one of the great tragi-figures of jazz, found fame with Gerry Mulligan's quartet in the 1950s and went on to acquire a global following as a trumpeter and singer before an erratic private life led to his early death.

Maran is the narrator of a piece pitched skilfully between theatre and concert platform.

His collaborators are trumpeter Colin Steele, a Baker admirer, and the pianist Tom Gibbs. More later about Scarborough festival, which is on September 24, 25 and 26.

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