HE HAD played Harrogate International Centre the night before; he would be playing York Barbican again on Sunday night, and there had already been the week’s recording of Later... with Jools Holland. Oh, and he has a new album called Piano on the way on December 2.
Does anyone embrace the joy of making music more than boogie-woogie piano man Jools Holland, whose shows with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra grow better and better by the year.
He loves playing York, one of his favourite cities, he says. Well, he would say that wouldn’t he, generous-hearted chap that he is, but there is genuine affection between host Jools and his York audience, as packed as ever with music enthusiasts of diverse ages.
He is a showman, the large screen regularly focusing on his dapper, long-fingered piano playing as he previewed songs from Piano, but as with the departed Bellowhead and the still glorious Pink Martini, each and every one of his 15 big band players hits the spotlight and has the camera close-up too. Well, all except the Old Father Time of the drums, Gilson Lavis, keeping the beat with laconic economy.
There remains something of the pub knees-up about a Jools show, a collective spirit of enjoyment that was all the greater for this being a weekend get-together. What’s more, he picks his guest singers so astutely, be it Marc Almond or Roland Gift in the past, or Beth Rowley this time, bringing her to the fore anew eight years since her one and only album.
Louise Marshall thrived too and the ska double act of The Selecter’s Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson had everyone on their feet for Too Much Pressure and On Your Radio.
No Holland show would be complete without a walloping shot of the gospel blues from Ruby Turner and sure enough her Peace In The Valley would have woken up an entire neighbourhood.