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Concert review: Jools Holland in Dubai

Jools Holland and his band unravel slice after slice of tight, entertaining sets

  • Jools Holland in Dubai
    Jools Holland performs at the Dubai International Jazz Festival. Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
  • Jools Holland in Dubai
    A big crowd shows up for the Dubai International Jazz Festival at Festival City.Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
Gulf News

Dubai: The one big predicament about being a musician who says his novenas to more than one genre is that the audience will scramble to keep up when you unleash this assortment on them. 

Friday night was no different at the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival when Jools Holland and his band unravelled slice after slice of tight, entertaining sets which spanned from boogie-woogie, jazz, blues, R&B, reggae and ska in an entertaining finale to the evening's proceedings. 

Backed up by his talented band and a few worthy singers - the inimitable Ruby Turner, Rosie May, Louise Marshal and reggae's old man Rico Marias - who he flew out for his Dubai gig, Holland works the crowd with his tight set pieces, constant chatter and a charm that has endured for decades making him one of the UK's most popular music and television personalities.

But beyond all this is the crisp, tight music: an entertaining fusion of horns, percussion, piano, guitar, cleverly reworked cover versions and original material written by Holland himself 

Holland kicked off with a jolly version of ‘I love my love, because I know my love loves me' and before the crowd could settle down he introduced blues vocalist Rosie May who banged out Got My Mojo Working, a song written in 1956 by Preston Foster and recorded by Ann Cole but later popularised by the legendary Muddy Waters. The stage was set. 

Louise Marshall then came out to sing her way through some original material written by Holland of which the R&B version of Waterloo Bridge stood out. Then it was time for some Ska grooves before reggae veteran Rico Marias lent more pep into the proceedings. 

The highlight of the evening was obviously R&B and soul singer Ruby Turner - Holland's trump card. With the presence of someone so accomplished and ethereal, coupled with his distinct and undeniable appeal, Holland had the crowd waving and dancing for more in a memorable evening which couldn't be spoilt by the inclement weather.