Barney Wilen

Barney Wilen March 4, 1937 - May 25, 1996

Barney Wilen was a French tenor and soprano saxophonist and jazz composer.
Barney Wilen est un saxophoniste de jazz français. Il jouait principalement du saxophone ténor.

Release date: Record Store Day (June 12th 2021)
Sortie du sublieme coffret La note bleue de Barney Wilen chez Elemental Music avec le vinyle, la bd en anglais, un CD et un concert in, et plein de époque documenten, photos, articles, storyboard!

Barney Wilen “la note bleue” first official re-release after 34 years.! 

Barney Wilen “LA NOTE BLEUE” first official re-release after 34 years.! (Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set) – RSD 2021 - Release Date: 6/12/2021 (june 12th 2021) (Record Store Day 2021)

On video From left to right: Eric Mills, Patrick Wilen, Satomi Wilen & Jordi Soley (Elemental Music).

Label: Elemental Music, Barcelona, produced by: Jordi Soley, associate producer: Patrick Wilen, art director: Josep Basora, Barcelona, release date: record store day (june 12th 2021) limited 2000 edition de-luxe box set, including:

* 180-gram virgin vinyl edition of the historical Barney Wilen LP LA NOTE BLEUE, newly remastered from the original 24-tracks master tapes by the former sound engineer hervé le guil. the original album was awarded the grand prix jazz de l'académie charles cros as best french jazz album of the year 1987.

* Complete 88-page English edition of the iconic Jacques De Loustal & Philippe Paringaux comic story: Barney and the Blue Note (Translation of the French version Barney et la Note Bleue.)

* 24 page LP-size booklet featuring new liner notes by Philippe Vincent (jazz magazine), Francis Marmande (Le Monde) and bassist Riccardo Del Fra, also including never issued photos from the original studio session by Guy Le Querrec and other unpublished archives.

* Bonus cd consisting of a unissued live broadcast by Radio France presented by Claude Carrière: the Barney Wilen quartet recorded in 1989 at the Parisian Jazz Club „Le Petit Opportun“, issued here thanks to the collaboration of the INA (Institut National de l’Audiovisuel). the cd includes new versions of several LA NOTE BLEUE tunes and features Jacky Terrasson (piano), Gilles Naturel (double-bass) and Peter Gritz (drums).

Special thanks to all the musicians involved in this project: Alain Jean-Marie, Philippe Petit, Riccardo Del Fra, Sangoma Everett, Jacky Terrasson, Gilles Naturel & Peter Gritz. and last but not least: Philippe Paringaux, Jacques De Loustal & Philippe Vincent.

More information: or

2021 La Note Bleue [RSD Drops 2021]

Limited edition, numbered, 180g vinyl of the celebrated Barney Wilen LP, La Note Bleue. Newly re-mastered from the original 24-track master tapes. Also includes; complete 88 page English edition of the iconic comic strip Barney Et La Note Bleue, 40-page LP-size booklet featuring new liner notes and never before seen photos, plus a bonus CD consisting of a previously unissued radio France live broadcast recorded in 1989 at The Parisian jazz club Le Petit Opportun.
Format: Vinyl
Label: Anagram Music
Rel. Date: 06/12/2021
UPC: 8435395502983
Vente: £84.99 /100 euro

2021 La Note Bleue [RSD Drops 2021]

* Bonus track from the same sessions, but not included on the original LP

BIOGRAPHY OF BARNEY WILEN - March 4, 1937 - May 25, 1996 

Bernard Jean Wilen, AKA Barney was born March 4, 1937. Wilen was a self taught player and became one of Europe's best and more modern saxophonists. He was born in Nice to a French mother and an American father. He studied the alto and, at 16, moved to Paris where he played with Henry Renaud, Bobby Jaspar and Jimmy Gourley 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 Davis, and J.J. Johnson at the Club St. Germain. He was very fortunate to tour and record with Miles Davis in 1957. This led to him performing on the soundtrack to the Louis Malle film "Lift to the Scaffold" in 1957. The recording won the Prix Louis Delluc the next year.Two years later, he performed with Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk on the soundtrack to Roger Vadim's Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1960). He appeared at the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival, one of the first non-americans to do so. During the '60s,Wilen explored with free jazz and Indian music. He appeared at the 1967 Berlin Festival and engineered Archie Shepp's 1969 live performance at the Algiers Festival. In the late 70's and 80's he returned to playing the ballads of his influences Sonny Rollins and Harold Land leading to him being awarded the Grand Prix Charles Cros in 1987. In the 90's he continued to be active, playing at many european summer jazz festivals and recording. He died of cancer May 25, 1996 in Paris, France. Much of Wilen's later work was documented on the Japanese Venus label.

Barney Wilen

Barney Wilen 1959

Barney Wilen

Barney Wilen 1986

Om d'artiste de Bernard Jean Wilen Musicien français (Nice, 1937 — Paris, 1996).

Il séjourne aux États-Unis de 1940 à 1946 et, dès son retour en France, étudie le saxophone ténor. En 1953, âgé de seize ans, il monte à Paris et côtoie sur la scène du Tabou les grands musiciens américains de passage comme Thelonious Monk. En 1957, il participe aux sessions d'enregistrement de la musique du film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, orchestrée par Miles Davis. Il se produit également avec les vedettes du be-bop comme Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey et Bud Powell. Il fut un des premiers Européens invités au festival de Newport. Après une première éclipse en 1962, il réapparaît au milieu des années 1960 avec Dear Prof Leary (1968) en précurseur du free jazz européen, ouvert également à l'influence de la pop music, définissant ainsi les principes du free jazz-rock. En 1969, il part en Afrique pour un périple de deux ans qui lui inspire Moshi en 1972, album mêlant jazz et musiques africaines traditionnelles. Il disparaît à nouveau jusqu'à la fin des années 1970. En 1987 paraît la Note bleue, disque au succès mythique, sorti en même temps qu'une bande dessinée de Loustal et Paringaux inspirée de sa vie, et consacrant le retour au tout premier plan de ce musicien de niveau international.

Barney Wilen 1958 Club St-Germain 1958

Barney Wilen & Miles Davis at The Club St Germain 1957

Club St Germain Parijs 1957: Barney Wilen (ts), Kenny Clarke (d), Miles Davis (tpt)

Barney Wilen

Basically a tenor player, Wilen made his name when Miles Davis chose him to play in a group he was fronting in Europe in 1957. But Wilen had already garnered a reputation with visiting Americans for a considerably accomplished technique and a real mastery of hard-bop forms. The Fontana album is an early one, combining two film soundtrack scores: Un Temoin is curtailed to fit the purposes of the film, and the group never really get going, but Wilen and Dorham have a few nice moments. Jazz Sur Seine is more like a regular quartet date, with Jackson (on piano for once), Heath and Clarke. Most of the tunes are French jazz staples - a thoughtful `Nuages', a bright `Swing 39', and they finish on Monk's 'Epistrophy'.  Wilen's subsequent visit to play at Newport in 1959 is commemorated by the Fresh Sound CD, although there's only 20 minutes of music from that occasion: Akiyoshi plays exuberant bebop piano in support and Wilen's even, supple tenor works patiently and impressively through `Passport' and `Barney's Tune', with what was then a rare appearance of the soprano on "Round Midnight', in which his tonal control is impressive. Two other tracks of unclear date find him with Powell (very subdued), Terry and Clarke; Wilen's solo on `No Problem' is typically artful - since the recording is subject to some vagaries of balance, he seems to emerge from the shadows here. There is also another "Round Midnight' with a German rhythm section. The sound is very mixed throughout but it's listenable enough.  

Video: Barney Wilen: "No Problem" (Club St. Germain te Parijs, 1959).
Barney Wilen (Tenor Sax), Clark Terry (Bugle), Bud Powell (Piano), Pierre Michelot (Bass) and Kenny Clarke (Drums).

Wilen's contract for IDA helped create a comeback for a fine musician. In the 1980s he tinkered with jazz-rock and African rhythms (he went to live in Africa in the late 1960s) and his return to a bop-inflected style has something of the full-circle maturity which Stan Getz came to in his later work; Wilen's tenor sound does, indeed, have something of the magisterial sweep which Getz delivered, but the main character of his playing continues to lie in his even trajectory. His solos have a serene assurance which eschews dynamic shifts in favor of a single flowing line. With his tone still exceptionally bright and refined, it grants his playing a rare, persuasive power.  

La Note Bleue was a disappointing start, though, because the record is so bitty: what seem to be little fragments and codas from longer pieces are made into whole tracks, the material is dryly over-familiar, and the pieces are cut short before the group can get going. With Wilen perfectly adept at long solos, this foreshortening sounds wrong. French Ballads is better, although some of the playing again seems proscribed, and Wilen dispatches a few of the themes with a too casual finesse. Wild Dogs Of The Ruwenzori finally establishes his second wind: it's beautifully programmed, with straight-ahead swingers, hints of calypso rhythm and a few deftly understated fusion pulses setting a delightful variation in tempos The title-tune and 'Pauline Extended' bond Wilen's solos into a tight electronic framework, but his latest reflections on Rollins in `Little Lu' and the two versions of `Oh Johnny' are flawlessly paced and delivered. The rhythm section does well on all three records. 


his b/w picture was taken in Bologna (ITALY) 1961 by Riccardo Schwamenthal. 

BARNEY WILEN original photo 1961 

1960 and shows BARNEY WILEN tenor sax with BUD POWELL piano, JAXQUES HESS bass, ART TAYLOR drums.  This b/w picture was taken by Riccardo Schwamenthal in Milano (Italy)

Barney Wilen Original photo by CHENZ (1959) 
vente ebay 2019

Barney Wilen by Jacques de Loustal

Sanctuary continued Wilen's good run. Catherine switches between acoustic and electric instruments and Wilen chooses classical rapture or firm, propulsive lines depending on the tempo. Danielsson's third voice is immensely rich and apposite. One might pick out the absolutely lovely reading of `How Deep Is The Ocean', but there's scarcely a weak moment on the record. Wilen is still in great voice here. Perhaps Waldron isn't an ideal choice, since his usual impassive stance dries out some of these romantic melodies to the point of desiccation: 'Les Paraplegias De Cherbourg' sounds like a dirge at the start. But it pays off over the long haul, with a powerful `Autumn Leaves' and a still, serene, ominous treatment of two of the `Lift to the Scaffold' themes. The saxophonist breaks new melodies and ideas out of all this material and, though he sounds tired at some points, it adds to his gravitas.

A certain waywardness crept into Wilen's playing; while it subverts some of the sax-meets-rhythm expectations, it isn't always comfortable. The duet with Jean-Marie comes from a 1991 festival appearance: Wilen sounds rusty on `Latin Alley' and the exposed format doesn't always suit him, but the long, serpentine lines of `No Problem' and `Afternoon In Paris' have all his old mastery. His tone on tenor is taking on a foggy side which sounds even more pronounced on the rare baritone outing on `Blues Walk' from New York Romance. This is one of several albums Wilen has recorded for the Japanese Venus label, this one then being licensed to Sunnyside. Compared to the supersharp rhythm section, Barney sounds a little bleary here and there, and his imprecision isn't always beneficial: the rather taut and wound-up `You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To' is disappointing. But the desolate soprano outing on `Cry Me A River', with its wide dynamic contrasts, and an unexpectedly slow and bleak `Mack The Knife' show his powers as yet undimmed. His passing in 1996 was another sad loss. He died May 25, 1996 in Paris, France. 

Barney Wilen Bologna (ITALY) 1961

This b/w picture was taken by Riccardo Schwamenthal in Bologna (ITALY) 1961.

Barney Wilen Paris

This b/w picture was taken in Paris (FRANCE) by Riccardo Schwamenthal. Barney Wilen, and on the trumpet probably Jimmy Deuchar, on bass Unknown.  (1961)

 8 december 1957
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Miles Davis with the René Urtreger Quartet: Miles Davis (tpt); Barney Wilen (ts); René Urtreger (p); Pierre Michelot (b); Kenny Clarke (d); Aad Bos (ann)

Miles Davis in Amsterdam (8th of December)( foto Ed van der Elsken)


ARDONCEAU, Pierre-Henri, BOUJUT, Michel, « Variations sur la note bleue - Une rencontre passionnante du jazz et de la bande dessinée, avec musique », Jazz Magazine, 357, janvier 1987, p. 17-25.
BERENDT, Joachim, texte traduit de l’allemand vers l’anglais par KUHRT, Peter, livret du disque de WILEN, Barney, Dear Prof. Leary, MPS 15191ST, 1968.
BERGER, Daniel, « Disques - Barney Wilen, Le nouveau jazz », Jazz Hot, 230, avril 1967, p.7.
BUIN, Yves, livret du disque de TUSQUES, François, Le nouveau jazz, Mouloudji EM-133517, 1967.
CARLES, Philippe, « La mission Barney », Jazz Magazine, 199, avril 1972, p. 12-18.
CARLES, Philippe, COMOLLI, Jean-Louis, « Entretien avec Barney Wilen. Portrait d'un fantôme », Jazz Magazine, no 127 février 1966, p. 29-34.
MOULIS, Raymond, « Des disques et des couleurs - Barney », Jazz Magazine, 67, février 1961, p.37.
LAPIJOVER, Pierre, « Jazzman et français, Barney Wilen », Jazz Hot, 355, novembre 1978, p. 30-35.
M. LeBris: “Barney Wilen: ma direction c’est le rock,” Jazz Hot, no.245 (1968),  
LUCAS, Emilie, « Le mythe Barney, le style Wilen », Jazz Magazine, no 412, février 1992, p.28-30.
MASSON, Jean-Robert, « Barney », Jazz Magazine, 67, février 1961, p. 18-21.
MASSON, Jean-Robert, « Le destin romantique de Barney Wilen », Jazz Magazine, 461, été 1996, p. 19-22.
PECK, Nat, « Critiques croisées - Jazz sur Seine », Jazz Hot, 144, avril 1959, p. 23-24.
RENAUD, Henri, propos recueillis par DRUSSANT, Didier, livret du disque de GOURLEY,  Jimmy, WILEN, Barney, Double action, Elabeth 621032, 1987.
RENAUD, Jacques, « Disques - Barney Wilen, Auto Jazz », Jazz Hot, 244, octobre 1968, p. 40.
ROMANO, Marcel, « Barney Wilen », Jazz Hot, 122, juin 1957, p. 16, 17.
SOKOLOWSKI, Nicolas, « On achève bien les saxos », Jazz Hot, 446, novembre 1987, p. 35- 37.
WILEN, Barney, « Sonny Rollins apprécié par Barney Wilen », Jazz Hot, 117, janvier 1957, p. 27.
ZEKRI, Camel, « What’s old but new ? », Les allumés du jazz, 7, 4è trimestre 2002, p. 15.

Livre: Vincent COTRO, Chants libres - Le free-jazz en France, 1960-1975, Paris, Éditions Outre Mesure, coll. « Contrepoint », 1999.
 288 p., Collection : Contrepoints - ISBN 2907891197

Book: After Django: Making Jazz in Postwar France, Tom Perchard
Series: Jazz Perspectives
Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: University of Michigan Press (January 12, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 047205242X
ISBN-13: 978-0472052424
Barney Barney Phantoms of Freedom chapter 5   p. 144 - 154?, 

Book / Livre: Barney Wilen, Blue melody Barney Wilen, Blue melody (French Edition) 

Yves Buin Author / Auteur: Yves Buin
Titre: Barney Wilen, Blue melody Barney Wilen, Blue melody (French Edition)
Date de parution: 05/05/2011
Paperback: 126 pages
Publisher / Editeur: Le Castor Astral
Language / Langue: French / Francais
ISBN-10: 2859208623
ISBN-13: 978-2859208622

Bernard Jean Wilen, dit Barney Wilen (1937-1996), né d'une mère française et d'un père américain, est considéré comme " le seul ténor européen susceptible de concurrencer les maîtres américains ". Sur les encouragements de Blaise Cendrars, il commence à se produire dans les clubs de Nice, avant de monter à Paris à l'âge de seize ans. Quatre ans plus tard, musicien prodige, il participe aux mythiques sessions d'enregistrement pour le film de Louis Malle, Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, orchestrées par Miles Davis. Bamey Wilen se produit à Saint-Germain-des-Prés avec les vedettes du be-bop comme Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey et Bud Powell, à Nice avec Stan Getz et Curtis Fuller, et enregistre avec des artistes comme Martial Solal, Milt Jackson et Flavio Ambrosetti. Après s'être retiré en pleine gloire, il réapparaît en précurseur du free jazz européen et s'ouvre à l'influence de la pop music, définissant ainsi les principes du free jazz rock. En 1987 paraît La Note bleue (Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros), disque à succès sorti en même temps qu'une bande dessinée de Loustal et Paringaux inspirée de sa vie. Yves Buin signe ici la toute première biographie consacrée à Barney Wilen.

Biographie de l'auteur
Yves Buin est notamment l'auteur de Thelonious Monk (Le Castor Astral) et " Free at Last in Treize morts d'Albert Ayler (Gallimard). Romancier et essayiste, nombre de ses titres de l'ivres font directement référence au jazz. Spécialiste de jack Kerouac il a établi et présenté l'édition Sur la route et autres romans (Gallimard) et publié les biographies Jack Kerouac et Céline (Gallimard).

Jazz Magazine N° 412 /Barney Wilen

Actualités et médias - 01/02/1992
Jazz magazine 412 fevrier 1992 Barney Wilen, Johnny Griffin, Mc Solar, Buck Clayton, Joe Lovano, Couverture magazine contient un dessin de Barney Wilen, de ....?

Jazz Podium N° 8 August 1961 

Jazz Podium, Ausgabe 8/x/1961; Titelbild: Barney Wilen ; Themen und Berichte u.a.: Münchner Jazztage, Eric Dolphy, Jimmy Giuffre

Jazz Magazine N° 461 de juillet-août 1996, Barney Wilen

JAZZ MAGAZINE N. 461 Juillet/Aout 96
Adieu Ella
Barney Wilen "Que reste-t-il de notre amour?", Mingus Big Band par Sue Mingus, Jimmy Rowles, Diana Krall, Stefano Di Battista, David Linx, Joe Zawinul

Jazz Magazine N° 48, 01/05/1959

Guy Lafitte, Barney Wilen & Martial Solal en couverture
Lucien Malson -Hommage a Lester Young 

Jazz Magazine, leader des titres jazz en Europe, a été fondé en 1954 par Eddy Barclay
Frank Ténot (qui a quitté Jazz Hot pour rejoindre Jazz Magazine) et Daniel Filipacchi deviennent directeurs de Jazz Magazine peu après sa création, puis propriétaires à partir de 1956.
En septembre 2009, pour lutter contre la crise économique et la baisse de revenus dans le monde des périodiques musicaux, Jazz Magazine fusionne avec Jazzman.
En 2014, le titre a fêté ses 60 ans et a été repris par Jazz&Cie, présidé par Edouard Rencker.

Jazz Magazine N°199 apr 1972. couverture Wilen

Jazz Magazine N°199 apr 1972. Barney Wilen, Great photos of Jazz Legends, 50 pages, text in French

verso du magazine: Hot Jazz n° 117, 1957

La révélation de l'anée Barney Wilen 1er au referendum de la critique. Joue sur "DOLNET"
Claude Bolling, Tommy Dorsey, Bobby Jaspar, Connie Kay. Michel Legrand, M. J. Q.
Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver.
Back-side Barney Wilen

48 pages

Swing Journal n?

Miles Davis in Japan with Barney Wilen on cover

Sud Magazine de la Côte d'Azur juillet 1964

Le scandale Barney Willen = Wilen
Les Tropeziens an 1964 / La crise italienne

Hot Jazz May 1959

This auction is for the May 1959 issue of JAZZ HOT - a French jazz monthly not to be confused with JAZZ MAGAZINE. This issue has a nice b/w photo of Barney Wilen, Paul Rovere, Duke Jordan, Kenny Dorham and Kenny Clarke on the front cover. Also Lester Young (9 pages - nice!), and a fabulous 5-page Thelonious Monk interview! . Crammed with great photos of jazz legends, great advertisements, album reviews, concert reviews, and other important information. Measures approx. 215 x 270 mm (approx. 8 1/2" x 10 3/4” inches) - 40 pages with text in French.

1982 Jazz magazine n°305

L'énigme Fruscella / Berlin / Barney Wilen: lettre au president (1982)
Editeur : Filipacchi (Editions)
Nb de pages : 54
Date de parution : 1982

Jazzman nr 125 juin 2006

Barney Wilen 15 disques de chevet

Jazz Magazine n° 357, spécial BD, janvier

En couverture Loustal: quatre images extraites de l'album "Barney et la Note Blue" . A lire: le dossier jazz et bande dessinée" conçu et réalise par Piere Henri Ardonceau