Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

As regular as ‘Hootenanny‘, musical maestro Jools Holland and his revered Rhythm and Blues Orchestra stopped off at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall as part of this years tour.

The yearly visit has become a mainstay in the calendar and as always is not just a reminder, but a celebration of Holland’s long and illustrious career in music, which has spanned over four decades and has seen him perform with some of the biggest names in the industry.

Born in 1958 in London, Holland began his music career as a member of the band Squeeze in the late 1970s before going solo in the 1980s. He has released numerous albums over the years, showcasing his talent as a pianist, composer, and bandleader. Holland is perhaps best known for his work as the host of the BBC music show Later… with Jools Holland, which has been on the air since 1992.

Holland and his orchestra delivered a high-energy performance, which by the end of the evening had the audience on their feet. A mix of classic blues and R&B tracks alongside some of Holland’s own compositions, showcasing the breadth and depth of his musical talent. The addition of Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson from The Selecter to the lineup added an extra dimension to the show, with their unique blend of ska, reggae, and punk rock adding a fresh twist to the proceedings. The two tone ska revival band formed in 1979.performed crowd pleasing hits such as ‘Too Much Pressure’, ‘On My Radio’ and ‘Missing Words’.

The evening was a masterclass in showmanship, with Holland and his bandmates clearly enjoying themselves on stage and engaging with the audience throughout the performance. Holland is a consummate performer, equally at home behind the piano and in front of the microphone. His rapport with the crowd entertained between numbers, with anecdotes and wit to keep everyone engaged.

With a number of special guests throughout the evening, each with their own vocal style, but complimenting the other. The first guest of the evening is the highly talented Sumudu Jayatilaka. Regular guest Louise Marshall follows. The two powerful voices also providing backing vocals.

The amazing Ruby Turner returned this year. Her powerful voice never fails to captivate the audience, providing the perfect finale to a fabulous evening with numbers including her heartfelt rendition of ‘Peace in the Valley’

To end a fabulous evening, Jools and his band get everyone on their feet for the feel-good hit ‘Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later than You Think).

As always, a show to remember at the Royal Concert Hall, the evening a testament to Holland’s talent and longevity in the music industry.

If you’re a fan of boogie-woogie, R&B, or just great music in general, then catching this band live is an absolute must.


by Tanya Louise – Editor

Photos by Michael Mills for NottinghamLIVE

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