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CD: AmazonUK

Claude BOLLING (b.1930)
Suite for Flute and Jazz Trio No. 1 (1973) [37:12]
David Oliver (flute); Chimera (Helen Porter (piano); Robin Payne (drums); Brian Shiels (bass))
rec. 15-16 February 2005, Darkstone Studios, Stratford-upon-Avon. DDD
CLAUDIO CB5887-2 [37:12]
Experience Classicsonline

Claude Bolling's Jazz Suite is a well known work for flute and jazz ensemble, featuring piano, drums and bass. It was composed in 1973 with Jean-Pierre Rampal in mind, who told Bolling that he enjoyed Jazz and wanted the experience of playing with a Jazz trio. The piece fuses classical traditions with Jazz - the composer referred to it as 'crossover' music - and was originally recorded by the composer with Rampal on CBS-Sony.

Opening with the Baroque and Blues, the style immediately settles into Bolling's fluid language, the dialogue between styles blending well and creating a sense of unity. Sentimentale is a mellow slower movement, with a wonderful piano solo and flowing melody line. The longest of the movements, this is probably also one of the most enjoyable, with variations on the melody changing the character throughout. Javanaise is a light and airy waltz in 5/4 which is reminiscent of Dave Brubeck. Fugace is begins as a pastiche of a Bach Fugue which breaks down into jazz, while Irlandaise demonstrates the influence of folk music. Versatile is another waltz, this time with a repeating rhythmic pattern giving a sense of halting flow. The final movement, Veloce, is an energetic and punchy movement, which gives the opportunity for the flute to shine. Oliver's performance here is particularly enjoyable and brings the work to a lively end.

The playing on this recording is competent, and gives a good sense of the lightness of Bolling's style. David Oliver's flute playing has a naturalness of style, and he is clearly an engaging performer. I have a few reservations about the tone quality of the flute at times, but I suspect this is more to do with the recording than the playing. The other instruments come across well; Helen Porter's piano playing is constantly impressive, and the other two members of the trio perform convincingly throughout. This is not deeply emotional music, but it is entertaining and performed with understanding.

Carla Rees



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