Jools Holland is the most popular pianist and bandleader in the UK with more than a million people paying to see Jools and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra in the past ten years.
Jools Holland & his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra with guest vocalsits, often Ruby Turner and Sam Brown, have become established as one of the most prolific touring acts in the UK, creating their own unique big-band sound playing a mix of boogie-woogie, swing, jazz and R&B.
As well as playing an average of 100 live shows a year, touring Britain and the world to audiences in excess of 500,000, Jools and the band are available for corporate events to make the night really go with a swing!
Jools Holland was born in 1958 with an unusual musical gift: at the age of eight, he could play the piano fluently by ear and by the time he reached his early teens he was proficient and confident enough to be appearing regularly in many of the pubs in South East London and the East End Docks.
At the age of 15, Jools was introduced to Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, and together they formed Squeeze; shortly afterwards they were joined by Gilson Lavis (who'd already played with, among others, BB King, Chuck Berry, and Max Wall), who drums with Jools to this day.
Up The Junction and Cool For Cats made Squeeze's success meteoric and their popularity rapidly extended to America where they toured extensively and eventually carried out a stadium tour, including performances at Madison Square Garden.
In 1987, Jools formed The Jools Holland Big Band comprising entirely of himself and Gilson Lavis. This has gradually metamorphosed into the current 18-piece Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, which currently consists of: one pianist; one drummer; two female vocals; one guitar; one bass guitar; one organ; two tenor saxophones; two alto saxophones; one baritone saxophone; three trumpets; and four trombones.
Jools and the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra now play an average of 100 live shows a year, touring Britain and the world to audiences of 500,000.
Jools has designed and built his own studio complex in South East London.
Since 1981, he has released 16 albums - either solo or with his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra - and in 2001 he made the double platinum album Small World, Big Band, which featured 22 guest artists, including Eric Clapton, Mica Paris, David Gilmour, Taj Mahal, and George Harrison. More Friends, released in 2002, is a similar collaboration between Jools, the Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and 22 more guests, including George Benson, Jeff Beck, Ray Davies, Dionne Warwick, Norah Jones, Robert Plant, Bryan Ferry, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Jones, Jimmy Cliff, and many others.
Jack O The Green: Friends 3, released in 2003, is another successful addition to the series.
Jools' career as a television presenter has run parallel to his musical career. He started in the early eighties when he interviewed the Police for a documentary made while recording at George Martin's Montserrat studio. Soon after, Jools auditioned to become co-presenter with Paula Yates of The Tube, which was granted almost immediate cult status, discovering a whole new generation of musicians and comedians between 1981 and 1986.
After presenting two series of Juke Box Jury in 1989 and then 26 shows of The Happening in 1990, Jools was asked in 1992 to host a new music programme for BBC2, which combined his talent and experience as a musician with his skills as an interviewer. Later...with Jools Holland has re-awakened the innovative spirit of The Tube, is now in its 25th series, and has been running for 13 years. Jools' New Years Eve show, the exuberant Hootenanny, is also celebrating its 13th year.
In June 2003, Jools' achievements were formally recognized when he was awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
In 2005, Jools continued to tour with his Big Band to enthusiastic audiences around the world, kicking off with a gala star-studded concert at the historic Royal Albert Hall, donating all proceeds to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The stars, which included Sam Brown, Mica Paris, David Gilmour, Marc Almond, Solomon Burke, Terri Walker, Beverley Knight, Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, Suggs, Chrissie Hynde, Ronnie Wood, Tom Jones, Chris Difford, Shane McGowan, John Cale, and Paul Weller, will be featured on the DVD of the show, which is scheduled for release in 2007.