Pays : Canada (Quebec) Label : ATMA Classique Genres et styles : Classical / Jazz Année : 2024

Nadia Labrie – Flute Passion – Claude Bolling : Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio

· par Frédéric Cardin

Claude Bolling’s Suite for flute and jazz piano trio is a pure product of its time, the 1970s, when various attempts were made to bring together two musical worlds that seemed antinomic at the time: classical and jazz. Remember, this was also the heyday of Jacques Loussier and the Swingle Singers. Because of this (or in spite of it?), the boundaries between the two have become increasingly blurred, much to our delight as music lovers. The stylistic distance between our ECM or ACT records-style modernity and that of the charming pieces by Claude Bolling (a great classical and jazz musician, but also a pop and film musician) seems immense, of course, thanks to our ears more accustomed to more complex integration of the genres. Nonetheless, there is something irresistibly fresh and honest about the French composer’s approach, which has never sought to do what Gunther Schuller was trying to achieve in the United States with his Third Stream, a resolutely more cerebral approach that has remained marginal (though historically fascinating).

Read my colleague Varun Swarup’s interview (in French) with Nadia Labrie, who talks about Claude Bolling and his music.

For Bolling, there’s no atonality, no stridency, no deconstructed rhythms. Rather, a kind of classicism in both the written part (the flute, which constantly flutters around baroque and classical forms) and the improvised part (piano, double bass and drums), whose style is stuck exclusively to cool and swing, never to free, which was just starting out at the time and which seemed to have more in common with contemporary avant-garde music.

Nadia Labrie moves through the suite’s seven movements with ease, despite the fact that these are scores with which she was unfamiliar before embarking on this project. She has surrounded herself with top-notch instrumentalists, well-versed in jazz, of course, but also very sensitive to the finer points of classical music, which is important. Hats off to Bernard Riche on drums, Dominic Girard on double bass and Jonathan Turgeon on piano. 

This album is the first in a series of three, as the flutist wishes to record Bolling’s complete scores for flute and jazz ensemble. The other two (Suite No. 2 and Picnic Suite) will be released in 2025.

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