Bournemouth International Centre - Sunday 14th December, 2014
Whether it’s big band, boogie-woogie, jazz, swing or blues, Jools Holland and his mighty Rhythm and Blues Orchestra play like they’ve done a deal with the Devil.On Sunday this joyous juggernaut of a band rolled into Bournemouth and slipped straight into overdrive with Jools’ piano leading the band into an infectious boogie rhythm before the full might of horns, drums, bass and guitar kicked in.This 17 piece outfit can almost literally raise the roof. Add backing singers – the sensational Louise Marshall and Jools’ predictably talented daughter Mabel Ray - and you have a world class performing outfit.The cavernous BIC barely knew what had hit it as for two hours the band zipped through material that tipped a hat to Lionel Hampton, Big Bill Broonzey, Dr John… you name it. There was ska, soul, pop and even a number co-written by Jools with the poet Wendy Cope.These are musicians who revere good music, whatever the genre. They have no need for Faustian pacts at dubious crossroads. They just love getting the audience dancing in their seats.As well as the regular powerhouse vocals of Ruby Turner - who alongside her jaw-dropping, trademark, full-on gospel belters performed a stripped-down version of Didn’t It Rain, there were special guest singers too.The ever ebullient Marc Almond bounced on stage to perform his own mini-set including some Parisian cabaret, the inevitable Tainted Love and a crowd-stirring version of Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.But first we witnessed the stunning vocal prowess of the band’s new best-friend, Rumer. The much admired singer-songwriter is remembered by many in this neck of the woods as Sarah Joyce who used to sing in the pubs in New Milton. She is now a star and rightly so. She sang beautifully with the band performing a wonderfully nuanced version of Billie Holiday’s God Bless the Child and showing a real feel for big band swing with the evergreen classic Accentuate the Positive. The band itself was on tip-top form. Each and every member ready, willing and able to take a solo turn in the spotlight. Consummate musicians all with many long-standing members including of course Jools’ one-time Squeeze colleague, drummer extraordinaire Gilson Lavis.What a night! Even the support act Irish singer-songwriter Jack Lukeman was a sensation. A charismatic performer with a big, big voice he had the BIC crowd on its feet singing, clapping and stomping along. You seriously don’t often see that in a 30 minute warm-up slot. Remember the name!