Claude Bolling, a pianist, a composer, an arranger and a conductor of jazz, entertainment and film music, is certainly one of the world's most famous French musician of his generation.
Originally oriented toward drawing, painting and architecture, he was very early attracted by music, when around the age of 11 or 12, his mother had him take piano lessons as part of his education. His taste and talent for music probably comes from his grandmother on his mother's side, who was an excellent amateur musician.
Born in Cannes on April 10, 1930, he has always lived in Paris except for the Second World War period, when he was in Nice, where he was taught the basis of his art by his teacher (Marie Louise "Bob" Colin), an extraordinary woman who played the piano, the trumpet, the drums, and who was a member of one of those fashionable all girl orchestras.

In 1944-45, as a young boy, Claude Bolling starts performing in public and is noticed as a jazz prodigy when he wins the annual amateur contest organized by the Hot Club de France.
At 16, he brings together some talented young musicians, and by the age of 18 starts recording with his first small band (Maxime Saury, Guy de Fatto, Benny Vasseur...)
Although he is not admitted at the Conservatoire or at other music schools he continues to learn with some excellent teachers : Germaine Mounier (classical piano), Léo Chauliac (jazz piano), Maurice Duruflé (harmony), André Hodeir (counter-point, jazz writing).

After his military service -during which he was part of a military band and grew a good instrumental knowledge of trombone and percussions- he became quite known around St Germain des près (Club St Germain, Club du Vieux Colombier, inauguration of the Club de la Huchette...).

He becomes very active in the jazz world and plays in numerous concerts and recordings with the greatests : Rex Stewart, Buck Clayton, Lionel Hampton, Albert Nicholas, Roy Eldridge... His friend, Boris Vian, takes him in the new large recording studio where he is in charge of the jazz department art direction and partly of the song writing department. Claude orchestrates Boris Vian's first songs as an author and a singer and records various themes for the "Chansons Possibles et Impossibles". The result is of such quality that Claude becomes "the" fashionable arranger, for Sacha Distel, Jacqueline François, Juliette Gréco, Henri Salvador, Brigitte Bardot and many others. Dario Moreno asks him to write the music of a film he is starring in, and René Clément, after having asked him to write a play back theme for Stuart Witman in "Le Jour et l'Heure" (Michel Piccoli, Simone Signoret) offers him to compose the entire music of the film. It is very favourably received by the audience and the profession and gives Claude a new opportunity.

 

He therefore, emcees several famous entertainment TV shows ("Age tendre et Tête de bois" -the Beatle generation show- the Maritie and Gilbert Carpentier shows, Jean-Christophe Averty's "Jazz Memories"). Meanwhile, Claude forms an all girl quartet, "Les Parisiennes", planned for one summer record and which will last over seven years.
As a result of his experience in various musical branches and of his work with the greatest classical musicians, Claude creates "Crossover Music" a new genre which mixes for the first time two different languages, "classic" and "jazz", strictly separated up to then. The "Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio", written for the great flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, is one of his most famous "Suites", all of which act as work of reference in that style.

Claude Bolling and Duke Ellington Claude Bolling has quite an acrobatic schedule to follow in order to succeed in all his pursuits : jazz (concerts and recordings as piano soloist, with his small and/or his big band), all-music composing (from songs to neo-classic) as well as sound tracks for television and films.
Every new recording has been a success. Among the last ones with the Big Jazz Band, "Black, Brown & Beige", Duke Ellington's suite (of whom he was a disciple, a friend and a protégé, "First Class" with the jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli ("Django d'or" 1993, Hot Club de France award), "Cross Over USA" with the Trio and the classic soloists Patrice and Renaud Fontanarosa, Marielle Nordmann, Guy Touvron, Eric Franceries ("Victoire de la Musique") and "the "Victory Concert - Echoes of 1944-45" with the entire Big Band at its best.

Concurrently, Claude Bolling has been a fervent ecologist ever since the 50's and has helped various organizations for environment and animal protection ; he is an active member of the "Fondation du Commandant Jacques-Yves Cousteau" from its founding day, with which he works for the diffusion of the Charter for the Defence of Future Generations.

Six times Record's Grand Prix - France
Gold Record - USA and Canada / Platinum Record - USA/ Citizen of Honour - Los Angeles
SACEM Gold Medal (Association of Authors, Composers and Editions of Music - France)
Chevalier of the "Ordre National du Mérite"/ Officer of the "Arts et Lettes"/ Chevalier of the "Legion d'Honneur"

 

Home | News | Biography | Discography | Concerts | Press | Contacts | Links | Media
Copyright © 2006 - Claude Bolling - All rights reserved.