Perhaps it's his role as the last remaining champion of decent music on TV at the moment but Jools Holland is a popular chap in many circles. Affable, unruffled and not entirely gaff-prone, his ability to jam with the best musicians and singers from around the globe on his Later With series is, frankly, untouchable. No one tinkles the ivories like Holland, who draws huge influence from the likes of boogie-woogie and rock 'n' roll masters such as Fats Domino, Albert Ammons and Dr John (a previous guest).
Aside from presenting Later With and its sister NYE show, Hootenanny, Jools Holland does have another day-job as leader of his successful Rhythm 'n Blues Orchestra. Originally formed in 1994 from the ranks of his Big Band project, the large ensemble is a grander ideal when compared to his previous band Squeeze, who weren't strangers to the odd hit with Holland at the helm ("Cool for Cats", "Up the Junction", etc.). Rather than be tied to the constraints of a pop band, Holland's Orchestra cover many bases and have proven to be the ideal go-to for outdoor festivals and the occasional Diamond Jubilee Concert, as you do.
Later in 2013, Jools Holland and his Rhythm 'n Blues Orchestra will embark on a massive two-month tour of the UK, which will also feature, as a guest vocalist, Melanie C. The fun starts in Southend for two nights on 31st October and 1st November, before continuing to Cambridge, Ipswich, Reading and loads more, including two nights at London's Royal Albert Hall, before finishing up in Nottingham on 22nd December.
Tickets on sale now, priced at around £35-£40.
As well as these new shows in the autumn, Holland is out and about for a tour in May/June with Roland Gift as guest - most of these have now sold out, some still available including St Albans, Wolverhampton, etc.