My thanks to Chris Holland, keyboard player and songwriter, for guest tickets to his brother Jools’ big band concert at the Royal Albert Hall this evening.
After a pleasant early evening drink in Bar 190 in Queensgate (the location for the press launch of the Rolling Stones’s Beggars’ Banquet album in December 1968), it was just a short dash through the rain to the magnificent Hall.
Chris has recently released an album ‘Golden Hour’ and he was the show’s opening act, in which he performed a select range of tracks from the album. He was joined by featured vocalists Siobhan Parr and Sumudu Jayatilaka, who closed the set with tender versions of evergreens by the Carpenters’ and the Beatles.
This was swiftly followed by Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, featuring a dazzling array of musicians and singers including Derek Nash (sax), Dave Swift (bass), Mark Flanagan (guitar), Gilson Lavis (drums), plus vocalists Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall. Special guests included Jessie Ware and Eddi Reader. A superb set list with a welcome ska theme, and marvellous performances by everyone on stage, made for a great night’s entertainment.
Once the action on stage came to an end, I joined the band’s family and friends in the artists’ bar downstairs and it was a pleasure to catch up with Eddi, Louise, Chris and Dave Swift. It was also especially good to have a lengthy and enjoyable conversation with promoter Harvey Goldsmith.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone for a marvellous night.