Graham Clark, Music Features Writer

Album Review: Jools Holland - Pianola. Piano & Friends (Warner Music)

Catalogue No: 0190296656835
4 Stars

Instructions; Jools Holland ‘Morris Dance’ feat. Trombone Shorty and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; Booker T. ‘Rockin’ Lock-in’ feat. George Latham; Tom Jones ‘Forgive Me’ feat. London Contemporary Voices and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; David Gilmour ‘Blues For The End Of Time’ feat. sonic space design by Dhani Harrison; Jools Holland ‘Hard Times’ feat. David Sanborn and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; YolanDa Brown ‘Surfin’ feat. Moses Boyd and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Horn Section; Lang Lang ‘Love Letter To Groningen’; Herbie Hancock ‘St. Louis Blues’ feat. Moses Boyd; Gregory Porter ‘Mona Lisa’; Joe Bonamassa ‘Requiem’ feat. Gilson Lavis and Pino Palladino; Dr. John ‘Boogie Woogie Twins’ feat. Omar Hakim and Marcus Miller; Jools Holland ‘Prelude No 1 in C Major’ feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; Jamie Cullum ‘Ghost In The Piano’; Ayanna Witter-Johnson ‘To Whom It May Concern’; Jools Holland ‘Etude 53’; Mousse T. ‘Do The Boogie’ feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Horn Section; Moses Boyd ‘Abide With Me’; Rick Wakeman ‘Rockin’ The Boogie’ feat. The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra; Nitin Sawhney ‘Worst Man In London’ feat. Anna Phoebe and London Contemporary Voices; Ruby Turner ‘The Piano’ feat. Nan’s pianola

Jools Holland introduces the collection on this disc by saying he made the album with one of his best friends - the piano. Whilst that may be true, there are lots of Holland’s other friends on the album such as Tom Jones, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum and Ruby Turner.

Listening to the album feels like one of his live shows as there are a mixture of instrumentals and vocal tracks here. Trombone Shorty with the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra gets into full swing on Morris Dance. When I saw Holland in concert in Harrogate on his current tour he shared that the track was dedicated to his dog, Morris.

Tom Jones gives a heart wrenching performance of Forgive Me whilst David Gilmore from Pink Floyd shows his guitar prowess on Blues For The End Of Time. There are plenty of musical references on the album including some ska and reggae on Surfin’ which features Mercury prize nominee Moses Boyd alongside Yolanda Brown.

Gregory Porter delivers a faithful version of Mona Lisa recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2017 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Later….with Jools TV programme. Another live recording comes from Dr John on Boogie Woogie Twins recorded live in New York in 1988 for the Night Music TV show.

Jamie Cullum and Holland combine their talents on the piano instrumental Ghost In The Piano though my favourite track on the album is when dance music maestro Mousse T adds some house vibes to Do The Boogie, but I would say the instrumental is more boogie than pure dance.

The boogie theme continues with Rockin’ The Boogie featuring Rick Wakeman, though it is the sombre The Piano that concludes the album where Ruby Turner's vocals are as rich as the notes Holland plays. Written by Holland the song is a tribute to his lifelong friend - the piano. If you have seen Jools on his current tour the album is a reminder of what a compelling show you will have witnessed.

Remaining dates of the current tour in the north
Friday 26th - Sheffield City Hall

December 2021
Wednesday 1st - Newcastle City Hall
Thursday 2nd - Newcastle City Hall
Friday 17th - Leeds First Direct Arena
Saturday 18th - Manchester O2 Apollo