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Review: Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Ipswich Regent

PUBLISHED: 17:57 28 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:58 28 October 2018

Marc Almond, appearing as a special guest with Jools Holland at the Ipswich Regent  Picture: NIGEL PICKOVER

Marc Almond, appearing as a special guest with Jools Holland at the Ipswich Regent Picture: NIGEL PICKOVER

Archant

Fireworks came a week early as Jools Holland and Co delivered an explosive set to adoring fans at the Ipswich Regent.

Ruby Turner performs with Jools Holland at the Ipswich Regent  Picture: NIGEL PICKOVERRuby Turner performs with Jools Holland at the Ipswich Regent Picture: NIGEL PICKOVER

Jools is now in veteran status - but living legend is now an apt description too.

He was an amiable and amusing host as his band and invited guests delivered a magical Saturday night feast.

And how the “golden greys” in a sellout 1,600-plus audience loved it.

Gradually their confidence grew and clapping extended into dancing when Jools told them:”It’s Saturday night you are allowed to party.”

Small groups at first, they stood and swayed and sang along to the piano-laced rhythm and blues - by the end everyone who could was on their feet, many in awe at the power of the performance in front of them.

There was so much energy coming from the band - 18 strong at its height - I’m sure they could have contributed to the national grid if asked!

Brother Christopher Holland, a talented pianist and keyboard specialist, like his sibling, warmed up the crowd with a short set of his own songs.

Later he helped Jools, as part of the orchestra, but also with a spellbinding single piano duet with big bro!

In this “good to be alive” evening of great music, Jools introduced his chums for starring roles ... and most of the orchestra for cameos. These various segments worked a treat.

The fiery tones of Louise Marshall and the husky singing of Mabel Ray, who when not in solo roles, doubled as a backing singer duet, went down well.

As did a drum solo from ex-Squeeze drummer Gilson Travis.

A giant screen allowed the audience to see the intricate keyboard work of hero Holland as well as every member of this super-talented orchestra.

Jools even introduced us to an extra band member - his trusty piano without which his life “would have been a disaster“.

Special guests Marc Almond and boogie woogie “royalty” Ruby Turner were warmly received - Jools and Co taking the role of supporting orchestra as two amazing voices rang out.

Ex-Soft Cell frontman Marc started with one of his classics, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and then Tainted Love, moving on to songs from his new album with Jools, A Lovely Life to Live.

Boogie woogie queen Ruby was on top form - like one of those aforementioned fireworks - what a voice! Did you hear it, Felixstowe?

Jools and Co gave Suffolk, with travelling contingents from Norfolk and Essex, a night which will go down long in the memory.

Nigel Pickover

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