The Suite is sprightly and consistently romantic in stance, while the performances of the two principals are impeccable.
Perhaps this work should have been called 'Suite for jazz piano and flute', because it is Claude Bolling who stays very much at the centre of events, bridging, as it were, the separate elements, with Rampal's flute performing an important yet slightly subsidiary role. Indeed, MM implied something very similar when (in May 1979, page 1945) he reviewed Bolling's Suite for violin and jazz piano (with Pinchas Zukerman). The suite with Rampal was actually recorded earlier and released in the US in 1975. It is divided into seven movements: "Baroque and blue" contrasts the classical and jazzRead more components, then sets out to unify them; "Sentimentale" begins sensuously, with a theme for flute, then has a brisk middle section; "Javanaise" in 5/4 time, opens with a brusque sequence of Ellington-ish piano chords; "Fugace", as its title suggests, has much to and fro between flute and piano; the lilting "Irlandaise"—in 3/4—suggests a folk-song (the theme's final bars even sound a bit like Greensleeves); "Versatile", with Rampal shifting to bass flute, lives up to its title, while "Veloce" is suitably propulsive. Playing-time is about 34'.
The Suite is sprightly, consistently romantic in stance, possibly a trifle lightweight for repeated listening. As you might expect, the performances of the two principals are impeccable. The bassist and drummer—the same as those who play on the LP with Zukerman—are competent but get kept very much in their place, as part of a traditional rhythm section. It would be interesting to hear players of the calibre of, say, Charlie Haden and Max Roach involved in a project of this sort.