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Max Jaffa: Farewell to Scarborough

Middle England out on the east coast of Yorkshire enjoy the soothing music of Max Jaffa in his final year, playing for his devoted followers.

Documentary 1986 24 mins

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Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


Scarborough favourite, violinist and bandleader Max Jaffa, says goodbye to his legion of fans; as they too shed a tear for the end of the “comfortable predictability” of his concerts after 27 years. Max Jaffa, now aged 74, shows himself to be the consummate performer, directing the versatile, and often unrehearsed, Spa Orchestra through a daunting summer season at Scarborough’s famous Spa Grand Hall and Sun Court in 1986.

This Yorkshire Television documentary catches Max Jaffa at the end of his long stint at Scarborough, although he continued performing for several years and passed away in 1991. It tells much of the story of his eventful life, but doesn’t mention that he was the youngest ever leader of the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, back in 1929, or that he later became the leader of the Mantovani Orchestra and regularly conducted the Palm Court Orchestra in Eastbourne – often relayed live on BBC radio. Nor does it mention that after flying with the Royal Air Force during World War II, he became physically unable to play the violin. Something one wouldn’t guess from watching him play in this film.