Burton Mail NOVEMBER 19, 2016 - by Staff Writers


Bandleader, pianist, composer and all-round music legend Jools Holland is set to release his next album which will centre around his fifty year relationship with the Piano.

The piano maestro will be exploring different piano styles and pianos throughout the instrumental album, which will be released on December 2.

The collection includes a collaboration with the iconic musician and producer Brian Eno, who sings backing vocals and experiments with soundscapes on the track Last Date. The album, overseen by Jools' long-time producer Laurie Latham, sees Jools also performing alongside his acclaimed Rhythm And Blues Orchestra on three of the tracks - Strange Cargo, Romantic Ruin and Bumble Boogie in which he quotes Bach's Prelude No. 1.

Earlier this year, Jools played a surprise session at London's St Pancras International station on a piano donated by Sir Elton John. He improvised around three of his tracks including Bang And Pop, as well as, Bumble Boogie, and Last Date.

The album features eight of Jools' compositions and ten carefully selected pieces interpreting the work of the piano artists and composers he loves.

Opening with his own May, he was influenced by French composer Olivier Messiaen who listened to bird song to inspire him. Jools has made a unique field recording of his piano in conversation with songbirds. Jools and Sting wrote Grand Hotel. Here it is completely reinvented with a mix of contemporary dance rhythms and stride piano. From the baroque counterpoint of Christabel to the blistering boogie woogie of Bang And Pop, Jools piano style is unmistakable. Along with his own compositions he performs works by great Jazz artists Mary Lou Williams, Sidney Bechet, Freddie Slack and Erroll Garner.

In the middle of the album there is a four-piece blues segment inspired by Jimmy Yancey and Lloyd Glenn.

As friend and sometime collaborator, he is well placed to cover Dr John's composition Dorothy. Perhaps most unexpected is his new version of Eruption by Dutch prog rock group Focus. As well as the previously mentioned Eno collaboration Last Date only Jools Holland could bring these different styles of music into a coherent whole with his trademark piano.

Jools was naturally gifted on the keys from a young age having learnt to play the instrument fluently by ear at the age of eight. By the time he reached his early teens, he was confident enough to perform in many of the pubs in South East London and the East End Docks. He then went on to play, record and appear with everyone in music from Amy Winehouse to Eric Clapton. He has also previously presented a two-part documentary on the instrument in 2002 entitled Jools' History Of The Piano. Of course, he's the current leader and pianist of his well-renowned Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

Jools is currently on tour throughout the UK until the end of December. He and his nineteen-piece ensemble will also be hitting the road in May and June 2017 for their UK tour. Featuring the vocals of the dynamite trio, Louise Marshall, Beth Rowley and the sensational Ruby Turner, it's a show that's set to dazzle.

His Rhythm And Blues Orchestra with its myriad of soloists is a vehicle for his own compositions, ska, rhythm and blues, boogie woogie elements which people love and know so well.