Review: Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra at Boisdale Canary Wharf

Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra with Sandie Shaw and Ruby Turner
(Boisdale Canary Wharf, June 21st 2011, Review by Kai Hoffman)

The designers of the new Canary Wharf-based Boisdale have managed to very successfully transfer the comfortable old- school decadence of the original Boisdale (a character-filled 17th century building) to
this brand-new location- complete with candelabra and the world’s largest whisky collection.

With a stage easily four times the size of the original Boisdale, it was still quite a spectacle to see the entirety of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra –easily twenty performers in five or six rows!- filling the space. It is very rare thing to be within a few feet of a world-class big band, rarer still to see all of them on such an intimate stage.

Packing out venues like the Royal Albert Hall, Boisdale Canary Wharf’s new patron included a huge range of styles in the program, from good old rhythm & blues to reggae, jive, pop and rockin’ boogie woogie.
Blinding solos by sax player Derek Nash – in fact the entire brass section – kept the energy level as high as it gets. With a members roster including some of the biggest names in the business- and some of the world’s finest musicians- it was an absolute pleasure to be in the audience at Boisdale!

Guest singers included superstar pop legend Sandie Shaw, who appeared in all of her barefooted-glory in a glamourous black sequined dress, singing tunes including her 1960s UK-number-one chart topper “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me”- immediately getting the audience out of their chairs.

Following Sandie’s set, powerhouse soul singer Ruby Turner took to the stage, with tunes including ‘He Gives Me Love, Crazy Love’ – keeping the audience going right through to ‘Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think’ where she was joined by ska-trombone master, 76-year old Rico Rodriguez.

Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra are without doubt one of the hottest big bands in the world today – their nearly two-hour set at Boisdale Canary Wharf was perfectly paced, immaculately
orchestrated,  immensely enjoyable Five stars! .

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