21 November 2015

JEAN-PIERRE RAMPAL // CLAUDE BOLLING


If you are anywhere near my age and had parents who gave a shit about music in a casual normal person way while you were growing up, then chances are good that there was a copy of this 1975 release in your house. Described as a "crossover" composition (just not the kind of crossover frequently covered in these annals), jazz pianist/composer Claude Bolling wrote this piece for a jazz trio and flute because...well, because no one had done that before. His approach to jazz is relatively standard - no freakouts here, no incomprehensible time signatures, the kind of jazz your vanilla ass parents could totally get down with. He kinda shreds the piano in "Sentimentale" though, and he was pals with Oscar Peterson, so respect. Jean Pierre Rampal, for his part, was a square ass French flautist (that's a person who plays the flute, you imbecile) who played a solid fukkn gold flute (true story). Bolling wrote the shit, Rampal joined his trio, and BOOM they sold millions of records to people like my parents. I picture this record in the living rooms of adults who owned 20 LPs, and this was the beginning and end of their "cultured" genre, proving that they didn't just listen to Bob Seger or (in my parents' case) THE CARPENTERS. That said, it's actually a pretty pleasant listen, even today. It doesn't slay or anything like that...but it's pretty easy on the ears, and I guess it kinda sounds like spring....whatever that means. Also, I not only still have my folks' vinyl copy, but this cassette that I have kept hauling around with me for twenty plus years for some unknown reason...so I guess that makes me a square grown up now.


8 comments:

kingpossum said...

I'm a jazz freak in addition to a fan of the mutant punk that is the core of the mighty TE. That said, I've never been a fan of flautists (save Eric Dolphy's approach to it) and have spent my jazz mode avoiding Herbie Mann like the plague. Most especially his albums that feature a shirtless Mann in hairy chested, over-compensating guise.

That said I'll give this a shot because a) it's posted on TE and b) the flautist is a French cat and that counts for something. Except for Plastic Bertrand, of course.

Thanks for the post.

the wizard said...

I eagerly await your review.....

Anonymous said...

ermmm plastic bertrand is from belgium

kingpossum said...

@Anonymous:
Indeed, I stand corrected.

@the wizard:
This one dances too close to New Age territory for my tastes. "Versatile" clocks in as the most listenable of the lot for me, with the stops and weaving interplay moving it a little more away from the living room innocuousness of the rest of the record. "Javanaise" could have been lifted from a Tom'n Jerry cartoon soundtrack. Thanks for the post.

the wizard said...

@kingpossum - "living room innovuousness" is the best description. I cannot imagine I would ever give this a second listen if it were not for the personal/childhood connection. Your analysis is appreciated...though I question the flute hate?


(not really)

kingpossum said...

@the wizard:
The flute by its nature lacks gravitas. It's used to soundtrack the image of the floating butterfly, not the approaching vampire. I listen to a lot of experimental stuff and if someone can point me to an artist who's used flute in that kind of mode I'd love to hear it. Ian Anderson has used it to more dour or down-mood effect, and that I've liked. Oh and of course: the way Rick Sanford used it on the first couple albums by hard rockers Legs Diamond I thought was cool too. It added great texture and tension to many of the songs.

Rubby said...

Kingpossum, i am a fellow jazz nerd and general flute hater....but listen to Thomas Chapin if you ever get a chance. ..single handedly convinced me that flute is not totally useless for jazz...

Adrián Osorio said...

amazing flashback.
good memories.
warm days.

my folks have the cd buried somewhere, gonna search it.

thanks wizard, really.