The Informer CD
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JOOLS HOLLAND The Informer (2008 UK 27-track 2-CD album set - Following the successful series of Jools Holland and Friends albums this infectious musical force decided it was time to bring focus back to the strength of the 20 piece Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. A true showcase in musicianship with its classic horn and rhythm sections plus Jools unique piano playing the 17-track album reflects the party atmosphere of their ever popular live shows. Opening with the soulful title trackfeaturing the smooth tones of vocalist Ruby Turner Jools Holland & co quickly establish the beginnings of an eclectic big band party; along with the gentle string led anthemic I Went By showcasing a timeless soul vocal provided by Louise Marshall and the traditional I Know Where I Am Going with Rico Rodriguez [famed Jamaican ska and reggae trombonist and member of the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra]. Complete with a Bonus CD of exclusive live recordings from Wells & Rochester Cathedrals.)
Britain’s favourite jazz man Jools Holland, along with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, have been bringing their consistent brand of big band boogie to the masses for a remarkable two decades. Featuring 17 tracks (three quarters of which have been penned by Jools), The Informer is the band’s latest collection of feelgood British soul, rollicking boogie-woogie and sassy swing. Featuring British soul singers Ruby Turner and Louise Marshall as well as famed ska/reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez, The Informer gets off to a soaring start with opener “The Informer,” which showcases Turner’s fabulous Motown-style vocals. The rousing “St Louis Blues” and “Honey Hush” display the troupe’s blues and boogie-woogie chops respectively, while songs such as “I Went By” (featuring the wonderful up and coming singer Louise Marshall) show the band can tackle ballads with equally splendid results. The Informer also comes with a fantastic live CD, which is more gospel-themed and features potent performances from Turner as well as Beverley Knight. Two decades on, Jools & Co remain very much at the peak of their musical powers. --Danny McKenna
Top customer reviews
The album contains a well selected set of covers and originals, played with decided vim and vigour by the band. Vocals are shared between Jools, the superb Ruby Turner, and Rico Rodriguez (on the standout ska track L-O-V-E). The band are on fiery form, meshing together superbly and delivering a wall of sound that's totally irresistable. The best bit though is that every one sounds like they are really enjoying themselves. This is music as it should be, none of your Miles Davis serious experimentalism here, just a bunch of friends having a load of fun and sharing the joy.
And that's just the first disc! Included in this release is a second album called 'Consider The Source', a selection of recordings taken from live concerts in Cathedrals. The emphasis here is on Gospel, with Ruby Turner really coming into her own. The set is fantastic, and really is how church ought to be! There'd be a lot more people there on a Sunday morning if we had hymns sung like this!
All in all an excellent, swinging album, which marks a return to form for a terrific group of fun loving musicians. Highly recommended to fans of swing, blues, ska, gospel, or just music lovers in general. This really is the next best thing to seeing them live.
L-O-V-E a tremendous ska beat.
We also have a couple of ‘cabaret’ pieces from Rico Rodriguez – actually quite pleasant if you’ve had a drink!
Jools sings on 5 songs but has no real voice of any note, the album badly needs other vocalists, he’s always known that and he’s a great collaborator in that way. Jools has such a ‘giving’ personality but is no fool either, in knowing what’s best in terms of sound?
Disc two with its’ live’ feel, saves this album from being average to good and lifts it to ‘good’ overall. Disc one was more or less the Jools we’ve heard a million times over?
The best track on here is actually from the combined talents of Wells & Rochester choral society – ‘Up & Above My Head,’ which is a stunning track. Again, you have to admire the generosity of Jools to put this on the album.
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