Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano featuring classical flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, was one of my all time favorite recordings. I found out later that it was responsible for the word cross-over. It was both classical and jazz and it was spectacular! I played flute in high school and dreamt of playing each song, as I listened to them over and over again. I whistled them in the shower and hummed them under my breath continuously. My dreams would come to a screeching halt after a state music competition when I was given a, “Thanks for your participation” award. I recognized at that moment that I was probably never going to be a classical flautist. The recording however, played on in my heart, my mind and on my turntable.
Fast forward to 2011, I started taking piano lesson from a brilliantly, talented piano teacher in Colorado Springs named Steve Barta. One day I showed up for my lesson and he was listening and working on a new arrangement for the Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano. I have to admit that I was less than pleased. I like to think of myself as a progressive thinker but I am a bit of a traditionalist when anyone starts messing with something I view as sacred. It took me a while to get used to the idea but I soon realized that a masterpiece like this could be updated and introduced to a whole new generation. It helped that Steve Barta talked to Claude Bolling and got his permission and his blessing.
Steve Barta is the perfect person to undertake this kind of a project. He is a Jazz piano player with a classical background. He is well known for his strong Brazilian jazz bent, which is evident in his Another Life Brazil CD. In my opinion, Steve Barta not only refreshed and reworked this amazing master piece; he added swing, spunk, and an easy groove. With Hubert Laws as the flautist and Jeff Biegel on piano, this album does justice to the term crossover. It crosses over to a new generation of millennial’s and their children, it crosses the bridge between classical and jazz and it crosses into my heart with a freshness that should be a must have for any baby-boomers out there who fell in love with the original. The loose, swing of Hubert Laws is refreshing, free, and airy. It will lighten and sooth your spirit,
I will give you my overall impression by using the individual songs. It is my hope that this will give you a quick peek into what you can expect to hear once this recording is loaded into your CD player or downloaded onto your phone or computer. Baroque & Blue swings you into a gossamer land of air and lace. Sentimentale slows to a reflective, melancholic charm of a smooth pool of water and a dragonfly in flight. In Javanaise, Jeff Biegel takes the lead on the piano with the light touch of a master, guiding the listener through a quaint, charming questioning dream. Hubert Laws answers with a calm counter melodic dance. The quick fleeting frenzy of energy is welcome in Fugace, buzzing and circling the listener with magic and stardust. Irlandaise swags in with piano and bass inviting you to converse with grace and beauty. The low voicing of the bass flute in Versatile lolls, entices, and embraces the listener. Ending this recording, Jeff Biegel and Hubert Laws engage in a final energetic conversation full of skill and mastery in Veloce. If you would like to listen to a sample of this album you can go to: http://stevebartamusic.com/
I love this recording and I will be listening to my CD, for I no longer own a turntable, but for any hard core audiophiles who have a turntable it is available as an LP. If you want to get it from the source, you can pick it up from Steve Barta’s web site. The Symphonic Arrangement Suite for Flute and Piano at: http://stevebartamusic.com/ or you can go to itunes or Amazon. I am positive that you will be completely delighted!