Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra winter tour tickets go on sale
- Alex Johnston
- 21 March 2016
We look at the enduring popularity of the hospitable boogie-woogie man
Tickets go on sale tomorrow for Jools Holland, boogie-woogie pianist extraordinaire, and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, touring the UK this autumn. The owner of British-television's most inexplicably ill-at-ease smirk (seriously, Jools, you've been on the screen for decades, it's time to be the you that is a television presenter) is bringing along familiar faces Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall but also some special guests, Pauline Black and Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson of Coventry ska veterans The Selecter, and Bristol-born singer-songwriter Beth Rowley. But for all the fans of his music, Jools Holland's wider popularity is surely owed to his sure-footed hosting of BBC TV's Later with Jools Holland.
For a music show, Later has amazing longevity; having been broadcast continually since 1992 it's older than Britpop. The programme has been criticised for being too MOR, and not including enough pop or dance music, but who wants to watch dance music on telly when you could go out and dance to it, and doesn't pop music already get rather a lot of exposure? Even Jools' critic agrees that Later has featured a far wider variety of musicians than any rival programme, giving many great world musicians their first bite of British TV: the late, great Lhasa de Sela appeared on the show in the mid-00s with a stunning performance of 'Con toda palabra', now presumably somewhere in the BBC archives. Later's most leftfield moment was leftfield indeed: Scott Walker's terrifyingly stark rendition of 'Rosary' from 1995 would have given a less adventurous show the screaming heebie-jeebies.
It's true that Jools's boogie-woogie stylings are not an adornment to everything. When The Fall appeared on the show, Mark E Smith stipulated in his contract that the host wasn't allowed to play with them, although Smith pointed out that this was nothing personal (nobody gets to sit in with The Fall.) Long may Jools continue to amble hesitantly around his studio floor.
Jools Holland's Rhythm & Blues Orchestra is on UK tour now, and is returning in Nov and Dec 2016. Tickets on sale Tue 22 Mar at 10am