Jazz tenor saxophonist, Barney Wilen, was born on March 4, 1937 in Nice, France. He had an American father and a French mother. Encouraged by writer Blaise Cendrars, a friend of his mother, Barney began performing in clubs at a young age.
In 1957, Barney's career took off when he was recruited by Miles Davis to create the music for Louis Malle's film "Ascenseur pour l'echafaud". Alongside pianist René Urtreger, bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke, they improvised and recorded the soundtrack in one night while watching the movie.
Barney went on to record with Thelonious Monk and was chosen by Art Blakey to interpret the music for Roger Vadim's film "Les liaisons dangereuses" in 1960. He also appeared on the TV show Jazz Memories and performed at the Newport Jazz Festival with notable musicians.
In the late 1960s, Barney became interested in rock music and dedicated a record to Timothy Leary. He later ventured into Africa with Caroline de Bendern and created the album "Moshi" which combined jazz and African music. After a period of silence, he composed music for French films in the 1980s-1990s before returning to jazz.