He was born in Cannes, studied at the Nice Conservatory, then in Paris. A child prodigy, by age 14 he was playing jazz piano professionally, with Lionel Hampton, Roy Eldridge, and Kenny Clarke. He was a major part of the traditional jazz revival in the late s, and he became friends with Oscar Peterson. He has written music for over one hundred films, mostly French, starting with the score for a documentary about the Cannes Film Festival, and including the films Borsalino , and California Suite 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.
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For one man, his wish to augment and reinterpret a certain piece of the flute repertoire began on the very day he first heard it, as an undergraduate student of Minnesota State University in Like so many new connections these days, I first encountered Steve through Facebook. One of my responsibilities as European Artist-in-Residence for the Wm. Haynes Flute Co. Always seeking to promote my fellow Haynes artists, I was interested to feature the work of the legendary jazz flautist Hubert Laws.
I saw that there was a new and interesting project that he was involved in with Steve, and once I had listened to a few of the snippets that had been shared online, my appetite was sufficiently whetted to get in touch to find out more.
This being a modern-day encounter, I arranged an interview with Steve via Skype with me in South London, and he in his home in Colorado Springs.
We began speaking about the original Rampal recording. I loved the writing, I loved the playing, but always felt like it needed different treatment.
Jazz flute was a rougher, more raw, occasionally more boisterous, but equally frequently more vulnerable art-form than that of the refined eloquence of the concert performer. He has 32 bfs. With Mann, he learned first-hand from one of the best in the business about the sound world and distinctive vocabulary of great jazz flute playing. Steve had hoped to continue working with Herbie Mann for his album Another Life — Brazil — but tragically Mann was quickly declining in health, and managed to record only the title track of the album before passing away in July of that year.
Easy, a consummate musician, a great guy to work with, to play with, to hang out with, to go out to dinner with — just perfect.
Suite for Flute and Piano (Grandval, Clémence de)
Claude Bolling: Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio
Claude Bolling: Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio: Flute