Review: Jools Holland, Sheffield City Hall

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Jools Holland, Sheffield City Hall

When you’re pitching up in Sheffield for the night, it’s only natural you’re going to call your mate and ask him to meet up.

When you’re Jools Holland, that pal is Richard Hawley. And when you’ve got a ticket for his unmissable annual boogie-woogie party at the City Hall, you’re quids in; not only do you get the legendary flexy-fingered piano maestro and his supremely talented Rhythm & Blues Orchestra - you get Sheffield’s famous son rocking it up on electric guitar all night long.

He wasn’t even the special guest. That slot was taken by ex Soft Cell’s Marc Almond, who trilled majestically through hits Say Hello, Wave Goodbye and Tainted Love and an Edith Piaff.

The 20-piece big band was smaller this visit - most missed was 80-year-old trombonist Rico Rodriguez and the drums solo from Gilson Lavis (Jools’s old Squeeze bandmate) - but still they raised the roof. And we got new chanteuse Mabel Ray punching out smouldering vocals alongside classy regular Louise Marshall and the incredible Ruby Turner, who features on Jools’s latest album, Sirens Of Song. Released yesterday, it features female artists spanning Amy Winehouse to Eartha Kitt