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Claude Bolling obituary

Leading figure in French jazz, as a pianist, composer and bandleader, who also wrote more than 100 film scores

Claude Bolling, the pianist, composer and bandleader, who has died aged 90, was a leading figure in French jazz from the early 1950s, who worked with many international stars, and celebrated the rich and complex history of jazz with his own particular brand of virtuosic enthusiasm.

Bolling’s keyboard skills brought him widespread acclaim by his mid-teens, and he developed a jazz-piano style audibly influenced by Duke Ellington, a lifelong hero, as well as by Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum. He also became an exponent of the piano technique that had originally spawned the “stride” methods of many of his piano models, the vivacious, dancing proto-jazz style of ragtime.

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