Jools Holland hails ‘golden age of music’

Jools Holland

Holland has said he thinks the “golden age” of music is now.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE day, Holland has recorded a 90-minute documentary on BBC Two.

He presents the show, Dancing In The Blitz: Blackpool’s Big Band Story, alongside Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley.

The episode also features excerpts from a special concert recorded for BBC Four by Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom.

“I think the golden age is now,” he said, “It’s the moment we’re in, paradise is now because this is what the great gurus tell us.

“Because all music is available at our fingertips and you can see… if you want to go on YouTube… you can see more than you could ever see.”

The documentary also explores how icons like Bennie Moten, Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton influenced and defined the Big Band revolution.

Jools Holland Jazz show

Asked about his favourite from the era, Jools said: “Duke Ellington in attitude is one of my favourites, because of his kindly and generous views on music, which was that everybody makes their own music no matter who you are, what you do… and it’s just a matter of honing in on what that is.

“Also the fact that he used to say his Big Band was an excuse for him to hear soloists in his orchestra soloing over his music and that’s the way I feel about the music, I think.”

“So as a philosopher and as a fantastic composer and everything I think that Duke Ellington was probably the really great one.”

He said he was fascinated to learn about what was happening musically in Blackpool and the North West of England at that time.

“You realise that the music we’re talking about had a grip everywhere. It was great music that lifted people’s spirits up and had an effect on the human spirit of lifting it up.

“The first thing I learned about music was when we went out we were playing in pubs when I was 15 and if you could make people dance, if you could make people cry, and you could make people feel amorous by playing music then it was going to be alright… you’d chosen the right career path.

“This music has done all that… to all those people in hard circumstances during the war.”

Dancing In The Blitz: Blackpool’s Big Band Story airs on BBC Two on Saturday July 25 at 9.10pm.

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