Pianola. PIANO & FRIENDS
Celebrated musician, bandleader and television host Jools Holland has amassed an almighty line-up of musicians, each a master of their individual instrument, for his new album PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS. A loving tribute to the black and white keys that have become synonymous with Holland and his show-stopping stylings.
PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS celebrates the community and conviviality that the piano inspires. At the core of the album is the eponymous pianola that was once owned by his grandmother Rosie. A sturdy self-playing stand-up, Grandmother Rosie’s war-torn pianola once entertained guests in her little front room before a young Holland began learning learn to play on it, sparking his love of music and this very album. A constant champion of musicians around the world, Holland has brought together a truly unique line-up of some of the world’s greatest artists in their field, from unrivaled concert pianist Lang Lang to guitar master David Gilmour as well as the vocal talents of Ruby Turner and Gregory Porter, for this expansive album, showcasing the vibrant versatility and virtuosity of the piano.
With seven tracks written by Holland himself, the album has been produced by multi-instrumentalist Nitin Sawhney, who received the Ivor Novello's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 and whose distinctive creative vision profoundly shaped the album, as well as Jools’ longtime producer Laurie Latham with one track co-written and produced by Mousse T.
After a brief introduction by Jools himself, the inimitable Trombone Shorty, together with the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, get into full swing on ‘Morris Dance’ while Holland jams alongside the effortless charm of Booker T. in ‘Rockin’ Lock-in'. Two true musical titans also make an appearance on PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS with Tom Jones giving a beautiful, heart-wrenching performance on ‘Forgive Me’, backed by the London Contemporary Voices choir and The Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, while David Gilmour showcases his guitar prowess on the soaring ‘Blues For The End Of Time’, framed by Dhani Harrison’s interesting sonic touches.
Mercury Prize nominee Moses Boyd makes two appearances, firstly alongside YolanDa Brown on the reggae inflected ‘Surfin’ and then with certified legend Herbie Hancock on ‘St Louis Blues’. Another piano maestro, Lang Lang, flexes his fingers on the perfectly poised ‘Love Letter to Groningen’ while Gregory Porter gives a powerful performance of the classic song ‘Mona Lisa’, recorded at The Royal Albert Hall for Later with…Jools Holland’s 25th Anniversary show in September 2017.
Alongside regular star collaborators such as Ruby Turner, who Holland accompanies on Grandma Rosie’s original pianola, Jamie Cullum and Nitin Sawhney, other musical stars featured on PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS include blues maestro Joe Bonamassa, German house pioneer and producer Mousse T., YES’ Rick Wakeman and towering talent Ayanna Witter-Johnson. In a very special moment in the album, Holland plays tribute to his dear friend Dr. John with the posthumous release of ‘Boogie Woogie Twins’. A fiendishly difficult duet written by Jools and Dr. John, the pair astonished the studio audience in New York, in October 1988, as they performed the piece live for US TV show Night Music.
PIANOLA. PIANO & FRIENDS has been principally recorded at Helicon Mountain, Greenwich, and The Dairy Studios, Brixton, with additional recording at Buckjump Studio, New Orleans, USA, Shanghai Vocational School of Contemporary Music, China, and Peppermint Pavillon, Hannover, Germany.