Born Julian Miles Holland on 24th January 1958 in Blackheath, South East London, he could at the age of eight play the piano fluently by ear. By the time he reached his early teens he was proficient and confident enough to be appearing regularly in many of the pubs in South East London and the East End Docks.
At the age of 15, Jools was introduced to Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford; together they formed Squeeze. Shortly afterwards they were joined by Gilson Lavis who had already played with, among others, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, and Max Wall, and who still drums with Jools.
In 1987 Jools formed The Jools Holland Big Band, comprising himself and Gilson Lavis. This has gradually metamorphosed into the current 20-piece Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, which consists of pianist, organist, drummer, three female vocals, guitar, bass guitar, two tenor saxophones, two alto saxophones, baritone saxophone, three trumpets, and four trombones.