b : Mar 4, 1937 in Nice, France
d : May 25, 1996 in Paris, France
Born in Nice, of an American father and a French mother, the young Barney begins to perform in the clubs of his city on the encouragement of the writer Blaise Cendrars, who is a friend of his mother.
His career intensified in 1957: the trumpet player Miles Davis, in Paris, was in charge of creating the music for Louis Malle's first feature, Ascenseur Pour l'Echafaud, and he recruited Barney Wilen, then 20 year old, as well as pianist René Urtreger, bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke. It's the eyes fixed on the screen installed in the studio that they improvise together and record the soundtrack of the film, in one night, "on the ideas sketched by Miles Davis: a perfect counterpoint to the images of the film".
Two years later, in 1959, he recorded with the quintet of the pianist Thelonious Monk, then was chosen by the drummer Art Blakey to interpret the music of Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960, by Roger Vadim. That year, he appeared in the TV show Jazz Memories, archived by the INA, in the episode "Live Club Saint Germain." Along with Clark Terry, Kenny Clarke, Pierre Michelot and Bud Powell. He (...) participated in the Newport Jazz Festival with pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi, bassist Tommy Bryant and drummer Roy Haynes.
During the 1960s, Barney Wilen became interested in rock and recorded in 1968 a record devoted to Timothy Leary. In 1969, he went to Africa with Caroline de Bendern, musicians and a film crew; he brings back a record, Moshi (1972), synthesis of jazz and African music, that Pierre Barouh (...) qualify as "superb album passed unnoticed". A period of silence followed until the 1980s, when he composed, as well as in the following decade, several music for French films. Wilen also works with punk rockers, before returning to jazz in the 1990s.
He died of a heart attack in Paris on May 25, 1996, at the age of 59.
- 142 Instruments & Performance
- 35 Writing & Arrangement
- 1 Featuring & Presenting
- 1 Conducting & Leading
- 6 Production
- 2 Technical
- 1 Visual