Claude Bolling Big Band

Jazz Brunch

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In the 1984-1985 Parisian concert season, the big band of Claude Bolling held court in the expansive lounge of L'Hotel Méridien in a series of "jazz brunches"; from the evidence of this live recording, they must have been splendidly high-spirited affairs. Though colored by the Ellington and New Testament Basie manners of swinging and voicing, Bolling's band still has a perceivable, clearly etched Continental flavor that gives this music its own signature. Bolling's ten fingers are in an unquenchably swinging mode on his "Canonette" and Ernie Wilkins' "Sixteen Men Swingin'"; Annette Lowman provides sassy vocals (in English, fortunately) on five of the eleven tracks, scatting up a storm on "Cotton Tail." The centerpiece of Jazz Brunch is a remarkably coherent 20-minute, three-part suite for Basie, "From CB to CB with Love," that seamlessly merges various Basie arrangers' trademarks within the lighter Bolling sound. Though technically this is music out of its time and place, more often than not, this band could achieve liftoff.

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