Jools Holland – Birmingham NIA – 21st December 2002
Jools Holland left behind the television studio and the dubious task of advertising whiskey to return to his day-job, of leading one of the best big bands in the country, when he played The Academy at the National Indoor Arena.
The gig, the last of an autumn tour had sold out weeks in advance, and a rapturous welcome awaited the genial TV Host as he led his eighteen piece band through a barnstorming boogie-woogie piano piece. A large screen at the back of the stage let the audience see what exactly Jool’s Hands were doing at the Piano.
‘Seventh Son’ was the second number, a song from his ‘Small World Big Band’ album, several Boogie Woogie shuffles followed, which warmed up the crowd.
Special guest vocalists Sam Brown and Ruby Turner took turns at the microphone, with Ruby Turner’s soulful vocals, in particular, shining on the more upbeat numbers. During ‘Nobody But you’, Jools divided the audience into four sections and had us singing the brass parts to the songs.
The brass section, consisting of 2 Tenor Saxophones, 2 Alto Saxes, 1 baritone sax, 3 trumpets and 4 trombones added colour and life to the arrangements, and each soloist was allowed some time in the spotlight.
During the last number of the set, Jools was joined at the Piano by his brother Chris, and they amazed the crowd with a piano duet, playing the same instrument.
He played an encore, but the audience would not let him go without doing another. Same Brown led the band through an affecting version of ‘Valentine Moon’, and then Jools played another piece at the Piano, which was a fitting way to end the concert.