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Claude Bolling

Pianist, composer, producer, and bandleader Claude Bolling enjoyed his first successes as a kingpin in the mainland European trad jazz movement of the 1950s and '60s. A skilled pianist who was heavily influenced by Duke Ellington, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, and Art Tatum, he also persisted in performing ragtime and old-style jazz during the years when U.S. and European pop culture was dominated by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Beginning in 1975, Bolling created his own personal micro-genre of classical crossover chamber jazz, composing and recording entire suites that featured several of the world's most highly acclaimed virtuosi. While decades of devotion to ragtime, blues, New Orleans jazz, boogie-woogie and swing have earned him a faithful following throughout much of Europe, Bolling is best known in North America for his numerous albums of accessibly presented suites written and arranged specifically for classical soloists and a mainstream jazz rhythm section.

Claude Bolling was born in Cannes, France on April 10, 1930. A child piano prodigy, his primary jazz influence was Duke Ellington. The small band he assembled in 1945 drew inspiration from old time New Orleans jazz legends like Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Sidney Bechet as well as the groups led by Ellington sidemen Johnny Hodges, Rex Stewart, Barney Bigard, and Cootie Williams. This blend of interests would soon place him on common ground with his almost exact contemporary, Britain's premier trad jazz bandleader, Chris Barber. In 1948 Bolling accompanied legendary blues vocalist Bertha Chippie Hill and subsequently gigged with trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Cat Anderson, cornetist Rex Stewart, saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. He formed and began leading his own orchestra in 1955, eventually naming it the Show Bizz Band.

During the 1960s Bolling demonstrated a keen business sense by supplementing his jazz oriented recording and bandleading activities with hectic and, one hopes, lucrative service as creator, producer, and manager of Les Parisiennes, a female pop vocal quartet who specialized in rapid-fire novelty numbers, synchronized movement, and brightly patterned mod-a-go-go outfits. He also composed quite a lot of incidental and theme music for films and television (including "Borsalino," "Netchaiev Est de Retour," and "Les Brigandes du Tigre"), while expanding his knowledge and interpretive range to include early modern jazz pianists like Erroll Garner, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, and Horace Silver in addition to swing and stride favorites Fats Waller, Count Basie, and Willie "The Lion" Smith.

When the cheery opening bars of "Baroque and Blue" began emanating from radios and stereo phonographs throughout the U.S. in 1975, both Bolling and flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal quickly became household names among listeners who enjoyed both jazz and European chamber music as some of the melodies seemed to reflect the sunny influence of Jacques Ibert. The mingling of these currents worked nicely on the album Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio, and the record sold well, not least for its clever cover illustration depicting an anthropomorphized piano and a substantially upsized flute relaxing together in a hotel bed. The fact that the flute was blowing smoke rings gave the entire picture a humorously post-coital twist.

Bolling returned to the jazz/classical format many times, teaming up with a series of star soloists including guitarist Alexander Lagoya, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, trumpeter Maurice Andre, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, flautist Elana Duran. and pianists Emanuel Ax and Jean-Bernard Pommier. Bolling's two-piano inventions were composed in sonata form, and a "Suite for Piano and Chamber Orchestra" also emerged from his fertile imagination. In later years Bolling collaborated with jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli and vocalist Guy Marchand, hosted numerous tributes to Duke Ellington and led a successful big band. His perseverance and longevity were rewarded with renewed interest in his many accomplishments, including of course Les Parisiennes, whose complete works were reissued shortly after the turn of the millennium in several eye-catching retrospective collections. ~ arwulf arwulf, Rovi
full bio

Comments

lcoe2009
Claude Bolling's music enchants me for its gorgeous bass.
Parts of this are way too similar to
Maple leaf rag
Sorry, Just in case:
Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life.tomorro w w will be the best day of your life.however if you don't post this you will die in two days.now you've started reading so don't stop.this is so scary.put this on at least 5songs in 143 minutes.when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on screen in big letters. This is scary because it really works.
lcarte029
This peice (Perfect Rag) is identical to one I'd heard off of a Riverside Recording collection of Ragtime, which also had pieces like Smokey Mokes. Can't find that album anywhere! Anybody know where I can find a CD?
Re. the last two comments, the bio I'm seeing appears to be about Claude Bolling (though it would certainly make sense to have Rampal's bio here too, given this is an equal duet, but the recording is primarily under Bolling's name. Anyway, fun, swingy music, certainly classic by now.
bawood8
It certainly is wrong. How did they confuse Rampal with Bolling?
This bio is wrong: it is Rampal..not Bolling!
Claude is an excellent musician. Nice to have him on Pandora
pikaboy1994
Ses chansons ont un coup de pied dedans !
Claude Bolling est bon !
I agree with ricoamordavi l a .
meladams108
I played parts of the Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano for my senior recital back in the late 70s. I still love to play it.
quite possibly the best ragtime recording i have ever heard
One of the most under-rated Artists in North America.
I would prefer to hear the entire pieces not just a sample.
Is there some way of making the program finish the piece naturally rather than have it timed out?
Bill Adono, Austin

I put pandora on when I'm working. Thanks.
This person is a "sleeper" in blues/boogie jargon!

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