Jools Holland at Kew the Music: An eclectic musical extravaganza
No stranger to the more serene surroundings of Kew music festival, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra take to the stage once again this year with an impressive cacophony of blues, jazz, reggae and soul.
This popular, musical aficionado – clad in his signature pinstripe suit – starts his set with a jazzy number that showcases his phenomenal, nimble-fingered piano skills. Warming up the crowd of middle-aged devotees, he proudly introduces his fellow band members that include his brother Christopher Holland and his daughter Mabel Ray. He asks if there are “any blues fans amongst us?”, then seamlessly slides from jazz into blues, swapping his ivory keys for an equally adept performance on the electric guitar.
Bantering with the crowd, he pauses briefly between songs to deliver an anecdote or two or introduce a performer into the limelight. The musician seems keen to let others shine during his set, a rare and endearing quality that makes him all the more likeable. Bluesy Mabel Ray, R&B soul-singer Ruby Turner and smoky-voiced Louise Marshall all take turns to sing guest vocals, with Reggae duo Pauline Black and Arthur “Gaps” Hendrickson from The Selector band taking centre stage for a couple of numbers. There’s also a fantastic drum solo from former squeeze colleague Gilson Davis, which he finishes to a standing ovation.
Bringing the show to a close, Holland makes sure he’s joined on stage by his guests and entire band before introducing a classic that everyone seems to know: “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think!”. The audience sing along whilst clutching their Pimms and it seems a fitting end to this eclectic extravaganza.
Upbeat and diverse, Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra define the meaning of talent and in the musician’s own words, he’s happiest when “we’re in one big ball of Boogie-ism”.
Photos: Nick Bennet
For further information and future events visit Jools Holland’s website here.
Watch the video for Count to Ten here: