Jools Holland And His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra
Jools Holland is the most popular pianist and band-leader in the UK. In the last five years half a million people have paid to come and see Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. In London alone they have performed live for 27,000 people in 2001 with regular shows at The Royal Albert Hall, Kew Gardens, Greenwich Park and soon, The Millennium Dome.
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The first recording session Jools ever played on was in 1976 for the punk band, Wayne County and the Electric Chairs (Wayne later had a sex change and became Jayne).
Jools Holland in international peace bid:- At last year's G8 conference Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra performed All You Need is Love for the leaders of the western world. On hearing the trumpet introduction Jacque Chirac mistook it for the opening of the French national Anthem and stood up. Out of courtesy Mr. Blair, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Yeltsin also stood. Once they realized it was The Beatles song, to avoid an international incident, they carried on dancing.
Jools must hold the record for making more music programs for TV than any other host: six series of The Tube made in Newcastle, four series of Night Music made in New York, three series of The Happening filmed at London's Astoria Theatre, two series of Name That Tune filmed in Leeds, fourteen series of Later..., six Hootenanny shows and one series of Beat Route filmed all over the world.
It must be a world record that Jools has worked with the same drummer for 25 years - Gilson Lavis.
Jools provided a headstone for the grave of blues legend Jimmy Yancey in Chicago.
When legendary blues pianist Dr. John switched to playing the guitar for a track on his live record there was only one man that he asked to take his seat at the piano - Jools Holland.
Although Squeeze sold millions of records, the most successful record Jools ever played on was Good Thing by The Fine Young Cannibals, which reached Number One in seventeen countries. Jools was paid the statutory session fee of £150.
Jools holds the unique status of performing with musicians who have achieved success in every decade of the 20th Century. This includes Kid Valentine Thomas, Mick Hucknall, Van Morrison, Luther Vandross, Slim Gaylard, Sting, Tony Bennett, Eric Clapton, Adelaide Hall, George Harrision, Bryan Ferry, BB King, Cerys Matthews, Paul Weller and Herbie Hancock.
After recording with Jools, BB King said, "I didn't think anybody could play like that. Jools has got that left hand that never stops. When the likes of Pete Johnson died, I wondered if I'd ever see that kind of playing again."
Julian Miles Holland was born on 24th January 1958 in London. As a young boy, he showed an unusual flare for the piano; at eight years of age he had picked up the rudiments of Boogie Woogie and Blues piano from his musical uncle, Dave.
Jools went on to study Harmony and Music Theory at school, and by his teens was playing in the pubs and clubs in South London and the East End.
At the age of 15, Jools met up with Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook; together they formed Squeeze. With hits like Cool For Cats and Up The Junction, Squeeze achieved spectacular success, selling millions of records and breaking America – where they carried out lengthy stadium tours and sold out New York's Madison Square Garden.
In 1985, Jools sowed the seeds of The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra when he and Gilson Lavis, Squeeze's virtuoso drummer, began touring as a duo.
The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra has evolved into a disciplined 14-piece band, capable of selling out hundreds of shows a year all over Britain and Europe – from Canterbury Cathedral and Kew Gardens to the Glastonbury Festival – and filling the Albert Hall each Christmas in what has become an annual ritual.
Over the years, Jools has performed and recorded with some of the most talented musicians and songwriters in the world, including Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Sting, BB King, Luther Vandross, and Paul Weller.
In 1999, Jools received what he considers to be one of his greatest accolades – an invitation from Dr. John to play piano on his new album.
On New Year's Eve 1999, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra were chosen to lead the official celebrations at The Millennium Dome in Greenwich.
Although Jools remains, first and foremost, an accomplished pianist, a unique combination of gifted musician and articulate interviewer has enabled him to secure regular television and radio dates. He is also a published author, and has made cameo appearances in two films – Spice World and Hunting Venus.
Jools Holland lives in Blackheath, London. Away from the music scene, Jools' interests include architecture.
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