GIVEN the success of the original "Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano," it's no surprise that pianist Claude Bolling and flutist Jean Pierre Rampal have finally concocted a sequel. Nor it is surprising that "No. 2" aspires to the same easy-listening fusion of classical and jazz as its predecessor.
However, the term fusion suggests an interaction, at least by jazz standards, and that's what's missing here. As a composer, Bolling has succeeded in capturing the flavor of the original suite without repeating himself, but once again he almost seems to have bent over backwards to accommodate Rampal's decidedly nonjazz instincts.
As far as tone and phrasing are concerned, Rampal is magnificent, sustaining one soaring melody after another. But he's no improviser. Just as he's responsible for the music's elegant sweep, it's up to Bolling and a rather sedate rhythm section to provide the jazz impulse, usually through abrupt and stylistically varied interludes.
The result is a pleasant but rather uneasy alliance, more of a friendly exchange than a true collaboration. Still, it's hard to imagine dedicated fans being disappointed with this collection, or the way in which Bolling and Rampal move effortlessly from baroque to bop and beyond.
CLAUDE BOLLING AND JEAN PIERRE RAMPAL --
"Suite No. 2 for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio" (CBS FM 42318). Bolling appears Sunday at Blues Alley.