Multi-award winner set for Bute jazz bow

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A NINE times winner of the ‘jazz pianist of the year’ prize at the British Jazz Awards has been provisionally signed up to appear at the resurrected Isle of Bute Jazz Festival at the end of April.

David Newton, who grew up in Renfrewshire, has recorded and performed with such notable names on the jazz scene as Carol Kidd, Marion Montgomery, Tina May, Alan Barnes, Claire Martin and Stacey Kent, as well as working with the noted playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

His first appearance on Bute, though, will be alongside the Bobby Wishart (pictured), who has brought an eclectic group of musicians to the island’s festival for several years and attracts an increasingly sizeable and enthusiastic following with every return visit.

They are just one of nine off-island acts which have so far been provisionally booked to appear this year - just two weeks since the event’s organising committee decided to press ahead with a 2011 festival, following the efforts of the local community and Argyll and Bute Council in raising almost £13,000 in just seven days towards the festival’s estimated running costs of £15,000.

Other acts from beyond Bute who have been provisionally signed up to appear at this year’s event, which runs from April 29 until May 1, are That Swing Sensation, the Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazz Band, Mike Whellans, Fingal McCool’s Blues Band, the Hermie Longalong Quintet, Bill Salmond’s Louisiana Ragtime Band, Richard White and the White Fivers, George Rodger’s Gypsy Jazz and local groups Academy Swing, the Bute Jazz Friends, Rise and the Tim Saul Quartet.

The funding package so far assembled for this year’s festival includes £5,000 from the Rothesay Common Good Fund, given to Bute Community Council for the town’s Christmas lights display but in the end not required for that purpose, and a £3,000 underwrite from Argyll and Bute Council.

The decision to press ahead with the event, which is now entering its 24th year, was taken after widespread worry was expressed at the impact on the island’s economy of a postponed festival – and after several observers wondered whether the event could be revived in 2012 after a one-year gap.