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Review: Jose Feliciano steals the show at Jools Holland’s Ipswich gig

PUBLISHED: 08:52 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:52 01 November 2017

Jools Holland is currently on tour in the UK. Picture:  Contributed

Jools Holland is currently on tour in the UK. Picture: Contributed

Archant

Jools Holland raised the roof at the Ipswich Regent at the weekend.

There was palpable excitement at the Ipswich Regent on Saturday evening as the crowd anticipated the welcome return of piano maestro Jools Holland and his rhythm and blues orchestra.

As always, from start to finish it was a celebration of the all-encompassing joy of music.

Before Jools set foot on stage we experienced the multi-talented Galia Arad, a captivating warm-up act who commanded the stage brilliantly. Singing under a single spotlight with an acoustic guitar, the songstress had a 90s vibe, and a wise voice to her lyrics that belied her youth.

Telling little stories about each song in between performances, she proved herself a hilarious raconteur and had everyone in fits of laughter with lyrics that swung between throwing out her boyfriend’s thesis, to thinking Elvis Costello emailed her.

There was pure heart too in powerful country ballad Hearts in the Heartland. She’s definitely a rising star to look out for.

After a short break the main man brought his presence to the stage and from the minute he set his digits to the keys, to the stunning encore finale, he had the audience in the palm of his hands. Honestly, I swear Jools could play piano upside-down, backwards and blindfolded. And that band! Simply one of the most talented gatherings of musicians in the world. Their connection and ability to freestyle with one another, perform wickedly good solos, and express their passion not only for their instruments but for their love of music, was astounding.

To start,a rhythm and blues arrangement of an old music hall classic.

A trad-jazz version of When the Saints Go Marching In followed, and was accompanied by an animated video behind, which was superb.

And band member and guest singer number one Beth Rowley showed tremendous light and shade, singing solos with a thick, gutsy voice that easily slipped out blues and honky tonk hits.

Next in the spotlight was a set of two songs, channelling Fats Waller, shining a star on drummer Gilson Lavis, who never missed a beat, before long-time show favourite Louise Marshall brought the house down with powerful vocals and some reggae vibes.

Undoubtedly the stand-out performance of the night, and the part of the show anticipated by many audience members was the appearance of absolute guitar legend Jose Feliciano who strummed melodies such as California Dreamin’, Feliz Navidad, Treat Myself and Light my Fire so magically I saw some audience members in front of me shedding tears.

What a true honour and delight to see one of the greats of the industry so flawlessly and humbly perform.

Rounding out the show were the unmistakeable lungs of Ruby Turner who is one of my absolute favourite Jools Holland collaborators. To completely steal a phrase, she ‘took it to church’. There is an infectious power and life to Ruby’s voice that cannot be beaten, and whether she was pacing herself with The Informer or rocking out to Let the Good Times Roll, she had everyone up on their feet from start to finish.

An unforgettable night out. The tour continues in the UK this year, moving into Europe for 2018. You simply have to see it.

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