LA Jazz Scene

LA Jazz Scene Reviews Cloud Bowling

The French jazz pianist-composer-bandleader Claude Bolling (1930-2020) had a wide-ranging career. He found his greatest success by composing “Suite for Flute And Jazz Piano Trio,” teaming up with classical flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal for a beloved best-selling record.

Cloud Bowling is a two-CD set that features Jim Shearer on tuba, pianist Chris Reyman, bassist Erik Unsworth, and drummer Andy P. Smith. All of the musicians are educators who have extensive experience performing both jazz and classical music

The first CD consists of the seven movements of Bolling’s “Suite For Flute And Jazz Piano Trio” but with tuba instead of flute. While some listeners may still regard the tuba as a limited instrument, the virtuosic Shearer proves otherwise. The familiar themes, which range from whimsical to warm ballads, are treated quite well. While there are some updates to the 50-year old material, lovers of the original suite will find much to enjoy here and I think Claude Bolling would have been pleased to hear this.

The second disc debuts Reyman’s “Cloud Bowling (Suite For Tuba And Jazz Trio).” A bit more modern and sometimes more somber than Bolling’s work, the music includes some excellent improvising, a few warm melodies, mood variations, and tributes to Duke Ellington (”Ellingtonian”) and Dave Brubeck (“Brubesque”). The interplay between Shearer and Reyman both in the written and improvised sections contains plenty of exciting moments. Cloud Bowling is easily recommended and available from

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