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Moshi

Barney Wilen

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Album Review

In 1970 Barney Wilen assembled a team of filmmakers, technicians, and musicians to travel to Africa for the purpose of recording the music of the native pygmy tribes. Upon returning to Paris two years later, he created Moshi, a dark, eccentric effort fusing avant jazz sensibilities with African rhythms, ambient sound effects, and melodies rooted in American blues traditions. Cut with French and African players including guitarist Pierre Chaze, pianist Michel Graillier, and percussionist Didier Leon, this is music with few precedents or followers, spanning from extraterrestrial dissonance to earthbound, street-legal funk. Wilen pays little heed to conventional structure, assembling tracks like "Afrika Freak Out" and "Zombizar" from spare parts of indeterminate origins.

Biography

Born: March 4, 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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Moshi, Barney Wilen
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