Gallery: Jools gets the park in boogie woogie mood

JOOLS HOLLAND AND HIS RHYTHM AND BLUES ORCHESTRA Christchurch Park, Ipswich, Saturday IT was a boogie woogie, rocking, rhythm and blues night, in the park as multi talented Jools Holland thrilled hundreds of delighted music fans.

The truly virtuoso pianist, singer, guitarist and charismatic band leader led his rhythm and blues orchestra, all 17 of them, through an array of songs in Christchurch Park, Ipswich, last night, in a pulsating two hour set.

It took a little while for the audience to get out of their camping chairs, and lift themselves off the grass to tap their feet and clap their hands to the music on offer.

And what a musical delight it was from Jools, his band and the star singers which included Alison Moyet, Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall.

The line up of the orchestra is spectacular and all are soloists and artists in their own right and each and everyone of them was given the chance to show off their musical skills and rich talent.

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There were three on trumpet, four on trombone and five saxes augmented by Jools on piano and vocals plus his brother Christopher, also on keyboards, bass guitar, lead guitar, and the pulsating and dynamic drum work of former Squeeze member Gilson Lavis whose solo received a raptuous ovation.

In Jools’ words, it was “the greatest drum solo in any park or field tonight or any night of our lives”.

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Throw in a couple of backing vocalists and the stage was close to bursting point.

Jools is the perfect bandleader and has the banter to go with his undoubted skills on the ivories.

He had the crowd in the palm of his hand and they begged for more ... being rewarded with two encores before the lights went out and the spectacular firework display rounded off the perfect evening.

Earlier Canadian Indie folk-rock singer songwriter Joel Plaskett got the growing audience in the mood and was followed by Jools’ guitarist Liverpudlian Mark Flanagan before the main act came on stage.

Laughing, joking, and dancing, the band obviously had fun throughout and it was so infectious that it swept out into the park.

Introduced by Holland as the “Boogie Woogie queen”, Gospel star Ruby Turner cranked the crowd up a gear so people weren’t just swaying to the music they were dancing along with heads bobbing, arms waving and hips bumping.

Her vivacious and infectious voice had the audience singing along to her songs.

One of the evening’s highlights was guest singer Alison Moyet’s deep-toned, sultry set.

A slimmed-down Moyet, dressed in black skinny jeans and towering heels, changed the atmosphere into that of a small-town Blues bar as she sexily swung around the microphone stand in the style of an old Hollywood actress.

The former Yazoo singer pleased the crowd with numbers including Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, The Man That Got Away, Boom Boom and, of course, Only You.

It would have been a treat to see an entire concert of Moyet, or any of the other soloists, but to see them all together was a musical feast.

Other highlights included reggae legend Rico Rodriguez, with an imaginative Ska version of Wonderful World.

Standing up playing piano with his right hand, singing into the mic while his toes tapped and left hand waved in the air conducting the band, Holland was truly the ultimate maestro of ceremonies.

And it helped made for an unforgettable evening in the park.

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