From the very first notes, Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues is simply a rollicking good time.
From the very first notes, Jools Holland's Big Band Rhythm & Blues is simply a rollicking good time. The former Squeeze keyboardist's boogie-woogie piano is very prominent in the mix, naturally, showcasing his considerable chops. A collection of original material, as well as pop and R&B standards, the album features a guest vocalist on each track. An obvious point of interest is "Horse to the Water," George Harrison's last recording, a heavy R&B workout on which Harrison, just weeks before his death, sings with strength and passion about his quest for "God realization." The Beatles are also revisited in Stereophonics' take on "Revolution," with Kelly Jones' bluesy rasp and Holland's Billy Preston-esque keys propelling the 1968 classic. Winning moments abound here, chief among them Van Morrison's reading of Louis Armstrong's "Back O' Town Blues," Ruby Turner's gorgeous "Nobody But You," Sam Brown's beautiful "Valentine Blues" (a Holland/Brown composition), and Paul Weller's take on Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles."—CW