A whole lot of Rhythm and not many people suffering from the Blues on this night in Paradiso.
What did I know about Jools Holland? Well for starters he was in the band Squeeze (or UK Squeeze for the Aussie readers) and then went on to front a TV show with Paula Yates (The Tube) and then after that his own show “Later….with Jools Holland”. On top of this I knew that he tours reasonably regularly with his band the Rhythm And Blues Orchestra, which has from time to time included some pretty significant players.
Up until recently I was never really sure if I really had to see Jools play. I mean I had never really paid enough attention to his playing skills, that was until I watched a documentary “My Life in Music” and my opinion changed. It was in this documentary that I got to learn about the man but really it was amazing to see him playing the piano in a bluesy, boogie woogie fashion. It was breathtaking.
So it was on the night of watching that doco that I decided that it was time to head to Paradiso (the greatest live music venue in the world) and get a firsthand look at Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
Upon arrival at the venue I chose to sit up on the first floor balcony, (unlike most shows) and this was because I wanted to see the sublime finger skills of this clearly very talented musician. This decision turned out to be a great choice as I think it gave me a really good view of all aspects of the show.
When the time came to start, the band (including Jools) filed on stage - all 18 of them. Once all were out there was barely enough room to move. And throughout the show the sound of all the full brass section and hammering piano was really good and got all of the crowd moving. The evening involved a mix of both Jools’s own tracks from his various albums (well at least I think they are his) as well as an array of all of the old standards. There was an old “famous” reggae artist who was performing on the night, I am not sure that he was totally at the top of his game and he seemed lost more than a few times but clearly in Jools’s eyes he was a living legend.
The very little that I did know about Jools’s performances was that he usually would be supported by Sam Brown or Ruby Turner, or both. On this night it would be the sublime Ruby Turner with her fantastic stage presence and a voice filled with amazing power and vibrancy.
By the end of the night I found myself thinking, Jools Holland is a must see performer (I am not sure how many times I have said that about musicians I have seen, but not that many) and he is someone with exquisite skills, charisma to boot and stage presence nearly rivalled by none.
He is an amazingly professional performer, actually much better than I had expected. And his piano skills were out of this world. I found myself just watching his hands in astonishment.
So do yourself a favour and get out there and see him!