Tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen was not quite 21 years old at the time of this meeting with Milt Jackson, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke, three veterans of the Modern Jazz Quartet. But the young man is surprising mature and confident throughout the session, interpreting several of Django Reinhardt's compositions, along with a few by his French contemporaries and a pair of his own works. What's surprising about this session is the rare opportunity to hear Jackson exclusively as a pianist, as his playing is a bit more reserved than on vibes. The leader digs into his rhythm section's element with his original "B.B.B. (Bag's Barney Blues)," giving them a full chorus before making a convincing statement himself…
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.
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!
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.