Seeing Jools Holland live is like being enveloped in the arms of a great big festive family singalong – all warm and cosy with some well-loved old tunes and a familiar face tickling the ivories.

There are no surprises and nothing particularly innovative, but whether it’s your first or fortieth time, you know you are going to get two hours of exemplary musicianship from the exuberant Rhythm & Blues Orchestra who always do what it says on the tin.

All the regulars were here – the almost spherical blues shouter Ruby Turner, the sublime Louise Marshall, long-time drummer Gilson Lavis and band stalwarts, guitarist Mark Flanagan, bassist Dave Swift, Jools’ brother Christopher on keys and saxophonist Phil Veacock.

The composer, pianist, bandleader and broadcaster tours every November/December, always plays the BIC and always puts on a grand show.

Tonight we were fortunate to have Pauline Black & Arthur 'Gaps' Hendrickson from The Selecter to add a little edge to proceedings – a 40-year old edge, mind, but an edge nevertheless.

They celebrated four decades of 2Tone with a run through of Train To Skaville, Once I Had A Secret Love, Too Much Pressure, On My Radio and a tribute to the late Rico Rodriguez, who had a foot in both camps.

Marshall had her own three-song showcase, including Sweet Country Love Song, the Holland/Gregory Porter collaboration, before boogie woogie queen Turner stole the evening with the likes of The Informer and the brilliant I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (think Barry Norman’s film show theme tune).

With up to 20 people on the stage at any one time, including an 11-piece brass section, there couldn’t be anything but a big sound. And there wasn’t. Although it inevitably was a little samey at times there can be no doubt that Holland & Co put on a great show.

Of course, it was all about the piano, with two cameras focussing on Holland’s stupendous playing, the ceaseless movement of his hands and the incredible sounds he extricates from the old Joanna. His skill level is immense.

His playing was altogether much more convincing than his awkward stint hitting the tambourine with the backing singers as the ever-smiling Black went through her paces and he still, after all these years, is a bit like a fish out of water as a frontman.

But he is a generous leader and all members of the band had their time in the spotlight with various amounts of huffing and puffing down the front and the machine-like Lavis contributed his customary drum solo, which, as drum solos go, was pretty entertaining.

The show ended with a rousing rendition of the old Prince Buster number Enjoy Yourself, but don’t worry if you missed it as the December 31 Hootenanny is coming up soon.

Support came from the ‘pint sized powerhouse’, as she has been described, Emma Hatton – a versatile chanteuse operating mostly out of the mainstream and earning plaudits in the mixed fields of blues, soul, jazz and country, as well as in musicals. Tonight was mainly rocky blues, including Al Green and Prince covers.