Laurel Zucker (flute), Joe Gilman (piano) and David Rokeach (percussion) and Jeff Neighbor (bass) pay tribute to The Claude Bolling Suites for Flute & Jazz Piano Trio on a beautiful new release. Claude Bolling is an innovative composer that combined traditional classical music with jazz for a unique crossover aspect that is rarely found in the realm of classical music. Indeed, it takes a special group of talented musicians to play this music in a convincing and proper manner. After listening to both CDs, I found all of those factors in place that made for a particularly wonderful listening experience.
Disc One encompasses more of the jazz adaptations and disc two leans more towards the classical side of the house, however the mixture is delightful regardless of which direction these talented players decide to travel. I noticed, and very strongly, how the band is playing a soft and satiny textured classical movement highlighted by Laurel Zucker’s gorgeous flute-then the way the band completely changes gears at a moments notice and suddenly they are swinging and bopping. It is like having the movie screen in your mind switched from an early century opera house to a smoke filled jazz club somewhere in Paris (where the honored composer is from) in a flash. The transitions are at times sudden yet smooth as can be. All 15 tracks are a truly amazing exhibition of musicianship and musical perfection note by note. I must also point your attention to the fact that each member is such an important piece of this musical puzzle, although Zucker’s flute stands out, the piano of Gilman, the bass of Neighbor and the percussion of Rokeach is extraordinary. They all work very well together and compliment each other’s parts wonderfully.
To give you an idea of the diverse influences found on the recording, the flutist Laurel Zucker had this to say- "I am a huge admirer of great jazz players. I grew up listening to and inspired by John Coltrane, Weather Report, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Pat Metheny, Chick Corea's Return To Forever and Cecil Taylor’s recordings. Because I spend all my professional time playing classical music, I listen to jazz to get new perspectives on interpretations of sound, harmony, and rhythm. I am looking forward to many more crossover explorations outside of the classical world."
That is a perspective from one member of the band so you can imagine all of the other influences that come in to effect on this recording from the rest of the players. The reason this works so well is that they draw from so many wellsprings of musical diversity. This CD set is proof that classical music can work with any genre of music if you do it right.