What does it sound like?:
This time of year usually sees Jools Holland on the road with his excellent live show featuring his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra – if you’ve not attended one of their gigs before, you really should as you’re guaranteed a great night out.
This December also sees the release of this new, wholly instrumental, album, where he veers away from the format of his live performances to explore different piano playing styles. The album showcases eight originals and ten interpretations of others’ works, and worry not, it does include the aforementioned orchestra on three of the tunes here.
The strongest part of the album though is the blues segment, which comes midway through proceedings, but there are a few other surprises here too. His joint composition with Sting ‘Grand Hotel’ is completely reinvented, there is an excellent and unlikely collaboration with Eno on ‘Last Date’, but most unexpectedly of all is something for prog fans – a cover of the old Focus number Eruption.
What does it all *mean*?
This album is not at all what I expected, being familiar mainly with Holland’s previous collaborations with his R&B Orchestra, but it is a very enjoyable and at times intriguing listen. Well played, well produced, and covering a whole range of styles from the blues to boogie woogie to baroque, there’s no denying that he is a very talented pianist indeed – a fact that is too often overlooked
Goes well with…
Other albums of virtuoso instrumental music – with a good time twist thrown in for good measure!
Might suit people who like…
Of course Jools Holland is a great showman too, and if you get the opportunity to catch him on his current tour, or on the dates scheduled for next May and June, snap up a ticket!