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Jazz In Paris: Jazz sur Seine

Barney Wilen

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Album Review

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. The quartet's fluid arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" swings. Percussionist Gana M'Bow is added for both "Swing 39" and "Minor Swing" to add an exotic touch. Wilen easily holds his own on his first major meeting on a record date with major American jazz stars. This excellent CD is part of Verve International's affordable midline Jazz in Paris reissue series.

Biography

Born: 04 March 1937 in Nice, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Barney Wilen's mother was French, his father a successful American dentist-turned-inventor. He grew up mostly on the French Riviera; the family left during World War II but returned upon its conclusion. According to Wilen himself, he was convinced to become a musician by his mother's friend, the poet Blaise Cendrars. As a teenager he started a youth jazz club in Nice, where he played often. He moved to Paris in the mid-'50s and worked with such American musicians as Bud Powell, Benny Golson, Miles...
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Jazz In Paris: Jazz sur Seine, Barney Wilen
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