All That Jazz

As a Patron of Music at Bosidale for just over a decade, Jools Holland has been at the forefront of some of the venue's biggest events. We dig deeper into his passion for music

By Mary Ann Haslam

February 13 2023

Pianist, composer, founder of Squeeze, ianist, composer, founder of Squeeze, bandleader, TV presenter, Patron of Music at Boisdale... is there anything Jools Holland can't do? One thing's for certain, there is a common theme weaving through all these successful roles and which, he says, has been with him since he was very young.

"[Music] is the first and chief passion. It was really the starting point of my life and has been my life ever since. It's something I am plugged into all the time. Sometimes you're on stage doing it, sometimes you're at home playing here on this piano [pointing at a Yamaha grand piano in the corner of the room], or sometimes you'd be in the studio or sometimes you might even be at Boisdale doing it!" he once said in conversation with Boisdale founder Ranald Macdonald.

Melanie C
Melanie C performing at Boisdale

As Patron of Music since 2011, Jools presents the very best in jazz, blues and soul and rock'n'roll. He has hosted and been centre stage of many sensational events at Boisdale, plenty of which have seen big-name stars including Melanie C, Courtney Pine, Shala Arna, Horace Andy, Gabrielle, KT Tunstall and Scouting For Girls grace the stage. Though unbeknown to some, his particular passion is boogie woogie piano and that love for the style formed the basis for the spectacular annual Boogie Woogie Dinner at Boisdale Canary Wharf, which he programmes and hosts, which celebrates the classic jazz music of the era by some of the biggest names in the business.

Emeli Sande
Emeli Sande being presented an award from Jools, Gordon Mac & Ferne McCann

He first learnt boogie woogie when he was eight or nine, when he heard his Uncle David on the piano.

"I went to my grandmother's one day and heard him playing this and I thought 'what is this?' It's so fantastic; you had the left hand contrasting with the right all at once and all the rhythms in it... it really was as if the chaos of the universe became ordered at that moment and I thought this is just the best thing I have ever heard. It made you want to jump around and dance," he recalled.

Lisa Stansfield
Lisa Stansfield receiving an award

Today that joyful passion well and truly shines on the Bois dale stage, where the usual magic of the finest British produce, exquisite drinks and impeccable service all combine with up close and personal performances from global recording artists to create a heady concoction of a wondrous night of live music.

You can see Jools in action when he hosts September's Boisdale Music Awards 2022, which sees a cross section of genre-defining performances. When you get there, we can toast the exciting future of our highly dedicated and beloved Patron of Music.

Suggs performing at Boisdale
Suggs performing at Boisdale