Barney Wilen

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Barney Wilen
LABELS: Nocturne
ALBUM TITLE: Dreamtime
WORKS: Dreamtime
PERFORMER: Barney Wilen (soprano and tenor sax); Alain Jean Marie (piano)
An attractive reminder of a poignantly neglected figure. Wilen, was a major European player during a period when European players enjoyed very little limelight. He will be remembered as the sideman on Miles Davis’s brief Parisian sojourn of 1957, but his own projects, scattered across numerous hard-to-find records, found him investigating jazz-rock and a pioneering synthesis with African music, crystallised during his five-year stay in that continent. Towards the end of his life, he came full-circle back to hard bop, and this set of duets, from a 1991 concert with the deft pianist Alain Jean-Marie, are imbued with wisdom and grace as well as an undimmed energy. He had a plush, enveloping timbre on tenor, yet also made the soprano sound more lyrical than it does in most hands. Richard Cook