Track Selection: Harlem Nocturne (E. Hagen arr. B. Wilen)
Barney Wilen (ts) Ricardo Del Fra (b) Sangoma Everett (d) Alain Jean-Marie (p) Philippe Petit (g) Recorded November 30, December 1-3, 1986, digitally mixed by Hervé Le Guil; Cover design: comic book artist Jacques De Loustal, author of Barney et la Note Bleue.
Wilen remains steadfastly among my favourite tenor players. Lyrical, musical, romantic, swinging, entirely unlike the hard biting aggression of New York, or the huge breathy tone of the tenor founding fathers. He remains a distinctive voice that over decades continues to delight. I can put on “Jazz sur Scene” and I cross The Channel to the Left Bank and fifty years in just the first few notes, and he has never lost that voice, because it is authentically his own..
His first major appearance in the late Fifties, not even out of his teens, were the European tours of Art Blakey and Miles Davis. This record reprises many songs of that era, with compositions of Monk, Duke Jordan and Bennie Golson mixed with his own. For twenty years Wilen took his saxophone into rock and world music. We find him here back in his roots in long-term collaboration with Alain Jean-Marie, both delicate and swinging in the manner of McCoy Tyner, and Philippe Petit, shades of Jim Hall and Kenny Burrell. He doesn’t grandstand, but gives space to other members of the ensemble as equals. Liberté – Egalité – Fraternité.
Born to an American father and French mother in Nice, South of France, Cotes d’Azur, , Wilen is commemorated at Cimiez, Queen Victoria’s Winter hideaway and site of the Nice Jazz Festival for many years, which dedicates all its walkways to the greats of jazz. Allee Barney Wilen makes a good French impression in front of the Musee Matisse. A French 50-minute film(subtitles) explores Wilen’s enigmatic life, here.
Cover Design: Jacques De Loustal
Loustal design, Paringaux storyline, the French tradition of the “serious” comic book tells the story of Barney Wilen, in style and mood which reflects the music itself. Jazz as a soundtrack to the comic book which illustrates the existential milieu of the musician as hero. Very stylish. Very French
Vinyl: IDA 010
Nice balanced stereo presentation, beautiful quality dynamic range. Comparing it with a Sixties end-to-end analog vinyl betrays its digital origins, with its slightly CD-like “Stepford Wives” perfection, but there isn’t any other choice, so it is to be enjoyed for what it is.
Vinyl Weight: 128 gm – released by the Paris branch of Weightwatchers, obviously
I think it’s in French. I..D.. A… and then some numbers, zero-dix. Very difficult for us Brits, who don’t speak much foreign.
Source: Ebay Location: Germany
NOTE! THE GRADING IS ONLY A SUBJECTIVE ORIENTATION – NO GUARANTY – NO RETURNS !! VINYL:MINT MINUS COVER: VG++ COLLECTOR ITEMS FROM MY PRIVATE COLLECTION – RARE!
This seller takes no prisoners. I say it is Mint Minus, if you disagree and think otherwise, I don’t care. No returns!! Ve won the War. OK we didn’t, but we came a close second. Think about it. Nice European Community. Shame if anything were to happen to it…
Not a good starting point. But wait, he used that word, he says it’s RARE! The word that causes collectors to start foaming at the mouth: it’s a Pavlovian reflex, named after the Pavlova, a delicious pudding of meringue and red berry fruits.
As it happens, he’s not wrong on the vinyl condition. Manufactured in 1987, by which time the tracking weight of tonearms had fallen from 20 grams to an anorexic 2 grams, making it very difficult to scratch vinyl. Followed by the ascendance of TESD, I am sure put in the loft and not played for the next twenty years ensured its excellent condition.
Much of Wilen’s later work is available only on CD, and they themselves are sadly, rare due to his cult status in France today. Let’s finish with a few more frames of our saxaphone toting hero, Barney: