Review: Jools Holland & His Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

Jools Holland
Jools Holland

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A fanfare of trumpets heralded the arrival of Jools Holland.

But that’s where any ceremony ended because an evening with Jools and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra is a laid-back affair.

The gifted bunch have adopted a jazz band’s improvised style - chatting, wandering around, putting down sax and trombone to pick up tambourines - in between incredible displays of musicianship.

Don’t let the party atmosphere fool you (although revel in it by all means), as this is a slick, seamless production.

Nippy-fingered Jools leads the way with his masterful keyboard skills. The boogie woogie piano man’s fingers gambol across the keys as his pals belt out their lively version of the blues.

Guest appearances come from Ruby Turner and former Spice Girl Melanie C. Ruby has become a regular and it’s easy to see why. Melanie C brings energy, performing her own songs and covers including Stevie Wonder’s I Wish.

On Saturday it was a gobsmacking solo from drummer Gilson Lavis that became the one to beat. Not that anyone was competing – from trumpet players to singers, they were all having a blast.