Back from a splendid weekend in Scarborough feeling refreshed and refurbished by some excellent hospitality (thank you Carrie and Rob) and some outstanding musical performances (thank you Scarborough Jazz Festival). Like all Festivals, there was a mixture of the outstandingly good and the sessions which left you more puzzled than enthralled, but the good more than made up for the indifferent. In the outstandingly good side of the scale has to be listed the brilliant National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the innovative Mina Agossi Trio and the breathtaking 13 year old jazz guitarist, Andreas Varady. Compare and Scarborough Jazz Festival stalwart, Alan Barnes always turns in a memorable performance, and 2011 was no exception. On the downward facing side there was a degree of self-indulgence in some of the gigs that left you questioning whether it is ever a good idea to provide composers with blank cheques. In my book - and I am no jazz critic - jazz needs to be either entertaining or exciting. When it ticks both boxes (which it did during several occasions over the weekend) it is a memorable experience, when it ticks neither ..... well it is simply time to go to the bar for another pint of the quite excellent Wold Top bitter. Good music and good beer - is there a better way to spend a late summer weekend?