Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

Gosport’s Music Madness is a big hit

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I can see I may run out of superlatives here. Excellent, state-of-the-art, top notch, full throttle entertainment from Jools and his top team of talented musicians.

The boogie-woogie piano king of BBC2 had the joint jumping in a show of blissful, soulful, toe-tapping sonic excitement.

As if 16 musicians (Three trumpets! Four trombones! Five saxophones!) plus keyboards, percussion, drums and backing vocals was not enough, there were special guests to make sure the tempo never lulled for a second. An awesome solo from drummer Gilson Lavis confirmed we were in the presence of greatness.

Jools’s brother Chris, provided the evening’s support act, with his trio performing self-penned songs and a terrific version of Tempted, a hit for Jools’s old band, Squeeze.

Backing vocalists Louise Marshall and Rosie May each did a solo spot, with Rosie’s rendition of Muddy Waters’s Got My Mojo Workin’ a highlight.

Guest vocalist Gregory Porter, on a flying visit from New York, was exceptional. Then it was back to the ’60s with special guest Sandie Shaw, still barefoot and long of limb, who belted out Love Me Do, a reggae version of Long Live Love, and a mournful, bluesy version of Puppet on a String, sung as you’ve never heard it before.

But it was vocalist Ruby Turner, a living legend, who brought the house down , belting out soul and gospel numbers with the power of a thousand women. Breathtaking!

Tickets for Jools’s shows are always hot. Grab one if ever you can.

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