Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra & Friends: Small World, Big Band

This is not so much a Jools Holland album featuring a wide array of special guests as a various artists album that just happens to have Jools playing some great keyboards on each track. I especially like the photographs on the inside cover; they feature a series of snapshots of Jools with his arm around, or stood next to, each of his guest artists. It looks rather like the scrapbook of a fortunate tourist who bumped into a few celebrities on his travels. It's quite a nifty little marketing trick too. As the album features tracks by many big name artists like Sting, Paul Weller, Van Morrison, Mick Hucknall and Eric Clapton to name but a few, the fans of these artists are just going to have to add this album to their bulging collections too. The 22 track CD makes it jolly good value but restricts me to selecting a few choice contributors. "Horse to Water" written and performed by George Harrison has that big band feel and its prominent brass and strong backing vocals would allow it sound quite at home on the soundtrack to the Blues Brothers. "The Hand that Changed It's Mind" written by Holland and Malcolm John Rebennack (A.K.A. Dr John) has the traditional New Orleans Jazz style associated with Dr. John and features his distinctive deep-south voodoo vocals. "I put a Spell on You" featuring Mica Paris and David Gilmour is great reworking of this classic little ditty and possibly my favourite track on the album. It starts with a classical orchestral arrangement providing the backing to some blues piano and the diva herself in full swing. It soon develops to feature even more corking blues guitar, piano and vocals. I imagine it would be pretty impressive to hear some of this material live, but if you can't get tickets to the current tour, this recording is the next best thing