Obituary: Claude Bolling, pianist and composer, 90

Posted on: January 4, 2021

“Claude Bolling, a French pianist, composer and bandleader who became one of the most successful jazz musicians in Europe and gained a devoted following across the Atlantic with his pleasing fusions of the jazz and classical traditions, died Dec. 29 in Garches, a suburb of Paris,” writes Emily Langer in Thursday’s (12/31) Washington Post. “He was 90…. A devotee since childhood of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other eminences of American jazz, Mr. Bolling grew up listening to their music on the radio until World War II intervened…. Mr. Bolling said Ellington took him in ‘as part of his family’ when they met in the 1960s, by which time the Frenchman had embarked on his career as a bandleader…. Mr. Bolling generally hewed to traditional jazz…. Beyond his tours and recordings, Mr. Bolling was a prolific composer of scores for French TV and films…. In the United States, he was best known for his crossover compositions, which he recorded with classical musicians including flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax…. His melding of jazz and classical music succeeded, he said, because he kept to his lane and allowed his classical collaborators to stay in theirs…. Mr. Bolling’s wife, Irène Dervize-Sadyker, died in 2017.… His survivors include two sons.”