Rhino; October 2007
Overstated arrangements bristling with piano and bursting with brass, featuring a who’s who of contemporary vocaliststhis could only be Julian Miles Holland, the former member of Squeeze, renowned pianist, and conductor. With the release of his autobiography comes Best of Friends, a double CD which finds Holland soliciting a little help from, well, his friends. The musicians turn their attention to a selection of Holland’s own materialfrom the sublime to the meticulousalong with some curious covers. Among them is arguably the album’s most pristine moment, where Holland and the Stereophonics present an inspiring rendition of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” And considering these recordings were drawn from across the decade and never originally destined to be collated as such, they make for a surprisingly cohesive collectiveand a lavish one at that. But one suspects that Holland wouldn’t have it any other way.