The reissue of keyboardist Claude Bolling's recordings of the 1960s may prompt a positive reevaluation of his contributions. Bolling has been known, at least outside France, mostly for the flute-and-piano works he composed for Jean-Pierre Rampal; his recordings with Rampal hit a certain popular groove and stuck with the formula. They were undeniably appealing in a simple way, but they became fatally overexposed. Bolling's earlier recordings reveal more imagination in his treatment of the relationship between jazz and classical music. Take for example this 1965 album, recorded in Paris. It's one of the few successful jazz treatments of Mozart, who is notoriously resistant to jazz treatment. The difficulty comes as a result of Mozart's reliance on harmonic rhythm, or the speed of the rate of change of the harmonies in the music. This feature seems impossible to capture in jazz, which heavily relies on regular chord changes, but Bolling's solutions here, making use of a classic jazz sextet, are brilliantly imaginative.
Claude Bolling (born 10 April 1930), is a renowned French jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and occasional actor. Bolling is also noted for a series of "crossover" collaborations with classical musicians. His Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio with Jean-Pierre Rampal, a mix of Baroque elegance with modern swing, has been a top seller for many years, and was followed up by other works in the same vein. It was particularly popular in the United States, at the top of the hit parade for two years after its release and on billboard top 40 for 530 weeks, roughly ten years…
Claude Bolling and Yo-Yo Ma are a combination made in heaven on Bolling's "Suite for Cello & Jazz Piano Trio." Once again marvelously mixing together many of the basic ingredients of classical and jazz, Bolling serves up a deliciously rich stew of musical influences that manages always to sound fresh, never derivative.
The fact that a pianist with such classical training as Jean-Bernard Pommier could react with so much pleasure, animation and intelligence in the execution of this sonata, proves that the jazz is not anymore a reserved district, a ghetto of the musical world. It also proves the big competence of Claude Bolling to shape a thought and an inspiration modernism of which can be assimilated by all and the marvellous aptitude of Jean-Bernard Pommier today which succeeds not only in illustrating the text brilliantly but that, by interventions where his personality is never stifled by the writing, brings new colouring and unique sensitivity.