DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

CLAUDE BOLLING: Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (1975/2004)

Glorious Versailles backgrounds for a short but upbeat baroque chamber jazz performance of Bolling's first such suite.

Published on March 7, 2010

CLAUDE BOLLING: Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (1975/2004)

CLAUDE BOLLING: Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (1975/2004)

Performers: Claude Bolling, composer & pianist/Jean-Pierre Rampal/Marcel Sabiani/ Max Hediquer
Studio: Editions Bleu Marine/Frémeaux & Associés FA4003 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]
Video: 4:3 color
Audio: French DD stereo
Subtitles: French, English
Length: 40:30
Rating: ***½

This was the first collaboration of top classical flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal and jazzman Claude Bolling, and its success led to a whole series of similar suites mixing Baroque classical style with jazz. It has been recognized as one of the most successful marriages of jazz and classical idioms. It’s strange, the blurb from Billboard on the front cover of the DVD begins “Don’t let the puerile cartoon-esque packaging fool you.”  I always thought the anthropomorphizing of the instruments in the cover art for this series was rather cute.

Bolling and his video people went to a lot of work for this video version of the original Suite.  They put on frilly 18th-century-looking white shirts and tuxes, evidently mimed to a pre-recorded tape on their instruments set up in various impressive spots thruout the Palace and Gardens of Versailles.  The most impressive is the quartet playing in front of the huge layered waterfall fountain. All eight selections are the usual widely-pleasing mix of upbeat chamber jazz and the baroque, and this version is a more swinging performance than from others who have covered it.  Would be nice if this was in 16:9 format but the videography is excellent and the stereo sound is good. A rather unusual feature is the inclusion of a few short rehearsal “Interludes” between some of the eight pieces.  Not sure if that ploy would be annoying when I watch this again.

TrackList:  Baroque and Blue, Sentimentale, Javanaise, Fugace, Irlandaise, Versatile, Véloce, Générique fin, Interludes

- John Sunier




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