Swedish trombonist Eje Thelin and French tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen were two of the top European jazz musicians for several decades before their deaths in the 1990s. They first joined forces briefly in Thelin's quartet in 1963. Based in bop and earlier forms of jazz, Thelin and Wilen were open to freer improvising and music from other countries. In 1966 they joined forces, and two sessions are included on the 1966 With Barney Wilen CD. The first one features a quintet with pianist Lars Sjösten, bassist Erik Lundborg, and drummer Rune Carlsson that is joined by eight brass, bass clarinet, and flute for four inventive Thelin originals. While those performances are excellent, it is the other five numbers (which include second versions of a pair of Thelin's tunes plus "It Could Happen to You" and "Dear Old Stockholm") that are of greatest interest. The playing by the pianoless quartet (comprised of Thelin, Wilen, Carlsson, and bassist Palle Danielsson) is looser and freer with plenty of fireworks occurring in the often intuitive music. This set is easily recommended, particularly to listeners who are not aware that talented Europeans had been playing creative jazz for decades.
Dear Prof. Leary is not only a super-rare and highly touted collectors item but also one of the earliest and strangest examples of the upcoming Jazz/Rock Fusion recordings that would soon transform the Jazz world. Originally released in 1968 on MPS, Barney Wilen And His Amazing Free Rock Band s Dear Prof. Leary l.p. was a sextet of two trios, one playing the more Rock style and the other in the Jazz idiom, complete with two drummers, producing what can only be described as psychedelic Free-Jazz. Highlights include covers of The Beatles The Fool On The Hill , Ornette Coleman s Lonely Woman and Bobbie Gentry s Ode To Billie Joe , scattered amongst the originals.
Wilen was born in Nice; his father was an American dentist turned inventor, and his mother was French. He began performing in clubs in Nice after being encouraged by Blaise Cendrars who was a friend of his mother. His career was boosted in 1957 when he worked with Miles Davis on the soundtrack Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud. In 1959, Wilen wrote his two soundtracks Un Témoin Dans la Ville and Jazz sur scène with Kenny Clarke. He wrote a soundtrack for Roger Vadim's film Les Liaisons Dangeureuse two years later, working with Thelonious Monk. Wilen returned to composing for French films in the 1980s and 1990s. In the mid-to-late 1960s he became interested in rock, and recorded an album dedicated to Timothy Leary.
Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. Important early work from one of the greatest European saxophonists of the 50s – a seminal batch of music recorded for the Vogue label in the 50s! Wilen also recorded famously with American musicians during the 50s – including Miles Davis and Art Blakey – but this set features Barney's searing tenor in the company of an all-French group – with the boppish Maurice Vander on piano, plus Charles Saudrais on drums, and Bibi Rovere on bass. Titles include more than a few Monk tunes – including "Hackensack", "Think of One", and "Mysterioso" – plus other jazz standards like "Night In Tunisia" and "Blue N Boogie" – all given a new sort of voice by Wilen. The 6 bonus tracks include alternate versions of "Blue N' Boogie", "Nature Boy", "Hackensack" and "Blue Monk", plus "We See" and "Let's Call This".
Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. A great little set – never issued before, but recorded at the same time as Wilen's classic 1959 album Barney, caught live at the Club St-Germain with a group that includes Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Duke Jordan on piano, Paul Rovere on bass, and Daniel Humair on drums. Like the Barney album, these tracks are fantastic – some of the most open-ended playing that Wilen ever did in the 50s, and proof that his tenor work was some of the best jazz coming out of Europe in the postwar years! All tracks are long – and titles include "Reets & I", "The Best Things In Life Are Free", "All The Things You Are", "Round Midnight", and "Time On My Hands".
Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the most classic albums ever from tenorist Barney Wilen – recorded at a time when he was making big waves on both sides of the Atlantic! The tracks are longer than on some of Wilen's more tightly-arranged albums – which really gives Barney a chance to show off his tremendous solo talent at this early stage – a soulful depth that easily made him one of the best European jazz artists of the time!
This 1959 concert in Paris by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers has been sporadically available on various labels, but this reissue in Verve's Jazz in Paris series is the best sounding and best packaged of the lot. Blakey's group of this period (Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Jymie Merritt, and Walter Davis, Jr.) is in great form during an extended workout of Morgan's intense blues "The Midget," and Dizzy Gillespie's timeless "A Night in Tunisia" is kicked off by Blakey's an electrifying solo. But it is the addition of some special guests for the first two numbers that proves to be extra special. Bud Powell, sitting in for Davis, and French saxophonist Barney Wilen, on alto rather than his normal tenor sax, are both added to the band for inspired versions of Powell's "Dance of the Infidels" and "Bouncing with Bud." Morgan's trumpet playing is outstanding throughout the concert. This is one of the essential live dates in Art Blakey's rather extensive discography.