IT must have been written in the stars. If ever two British artists were destined to collaborate, they were Jools Holland and Marc Almond.

From a distance, it may seem unbelievable the King of Boogie Woogie Blues and the founder of synth shockers Soft Cell could be kindred spirits? Yet, over the years, both have carved out gloriously diverse careers, motivated by a passion to experiment and savour unchartered possibilities. It was inevitable that the two would meet and bond.

Holland and Almond have worked together many times, both on record and in concert since 2004. However, A Lovely Life To Live is a much larger project, and one so obviously close to both of their hearts.

This is demonstrated by the number and quality of their collaborative new compositions. London, You Were My Lover, Workhouse Blues, Dirk Bogarde And Me (Take Tea), Big Black Mercedes 600 and the title track showcase two eccentric yet creative forces enjoying the passion of their labour.

If anything, for long-term fans of Holland’s boogie-woogie work, the album errs closer to the Big Band sound, with echoes of Count Basie. This is emphasised on the Bobby Bland covers It’s My Life Baby and I’ll Take Care Of You and on a fabulous interpretation of Cole Porter’s How Deep Is the Ocean.

The spirited 11-piece horn section arrangement of the traditional When The Saints Go Marching In signals what audiences can expect at Holland’s annual Hootenanny celebrations on BBC Two. If you cannot wait that long, catch Holland and Almond on tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on December 14.