Barney Wilen

Barney Wilen – ‘Zodiac’

(We Are Busy Bodies, LP. Review by Phil Johnson) Best-known for his work with Miles Davis on the iconic soundtrack to Louis Malle’s film noir ‘Lift to the Scaffold’ (‘Ascenseur pour l’échafaud’) released in 1958, and further collaborations with Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke and a host of Americans in Paris, Bernard ‘Barney’ Jean Wilen (1937-1996) was a saxophonist of great subtlety and expressive power, and one of the giants of European jazz. He is also now achingly, if belatedly, fashionable.
Picture for Barney Wilen – ‘Zodiac’

Barney Wilen: Zodiac

Tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen's Zodiac is the soundtrack for a mid-1960s film that never got off the storyboard. The backstory... Like other French jazzmen who came of age in the second half of the 1950s, Wilen benefited from the penchant nouvelle vague film directors had for jazz soundtracks. Aged twenty years, Wilen cut his filmic teeth in 1957 recording under Miles Davis' musical direction on Louis Malle's Ascenseur Pour l'Echafaud. With Davis and Malle on his c.v., other film work came Wilen's way sharpish, and his involvement with film continued until he passed in 1996.