Barney Wilen – Auto Jazz: Tragic Destiny Of Lorenzo Bandini (1968/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 36:35 minutes | 691 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © MPS
French tenorist and racing enthusiast Barney Wilen arrived at the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix with his Nagra sound recording system in hand, planning nothing more than to tape the race for private use. But when famed Italian Formula One racer Lorenzo Bandini lost control of his car and crashed, suffering horrific burns that claimed his life three days later, Wilen set to work on integrating the tape into a new composition celebrating the driver’s life and career. The resulting Auto Jazz: Tragic Destiny of Lorenzo Bandini remains one of the most adventurous and potent recordings in Wilen’s catalog, its careening, visceral music brilliantly paralleling the exhilaration of its subject matter. Bandini’s Ferrari speeds in and out of the musical narrative, jockeying for position amid Wilen’s soaring tenor and Eddy Gaumont’s crashing drums while uniting driver and musicians in their reckless abandon and addiction to adrenaline.
At 21 French tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen achieved instant fame when he played with Miles Davis’ group on the sound track to the Louis Malle film noir classic Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows). Today the album is considered one of Miles’ masterpieces. Wilen also performed with Art Blakey on the soundtrack to Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. In the following years he sampled music styles ranging from the Avant-garde to fusion on into world music. A devoted Formula One fan, Wilen journeyed to the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix intending to tape-record the race, but when famed Italian driver Lorenzo Bandini suffered a horrific crash during the race and died of his injuries a few days later, Wilen decided to compose a piece honoring Bandini by integrating the audio tape into the composition. Originally conceived as a multimedia event, it was premiered at the Musée d’Arte Moderne in Paris after which Wilen was invited to perform his work at Manhattan’s New York University in front of an audience that included Rauschenberg, Warhol, and Ginsburg. Critic Jason Ankeny calls it “careening, visceral music brilliantly paralleling the exhilaration of its subject matter.” Expectancy contrasts and competes with the pre-race warm-up hullabaloo, while Start plays out against the noise and chaos as the race begins, as the quartet mirrors the autos’ roar and speed. In Tribune Princiere an ominous piano plays over the relative quiet of the racetrack. The bass enters followed by the tenor with its serene, psalm-like line, as the tension builds. On Hair Pin the percussive underpinning of prepared piano and tenor play in tandem with the cars as they tackle the track’s Gazomètres hairpin turn. The Canyon Sounds and Destiny reflects the sense of impending doom as the Hammond organ transmogrifies into some otherworldly harbinger of death and Wilen plays a dirge-like prayer that ascends into passionate cries and screams. Underneath bowed bass and drums create an audio maelstrom. The music settles with the plaintive, anguished cries of Bandini! Bandini!
01 – 1st Movement: Expectancy
02 – 2nd Movement: Start
03 – 3rd Movement: Tribune Princiere
04 – 4th Movement: Hair Pin (Virages des gazométres)
05 – 5th Movement: Canyon Sounds and Destiny
Produced by Joachim E. Berendt. Engineered by Kurt Rapp.
Recorded on February 13, 1968 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg.
Barney Wilen – saxophone
François Tusques – piano
Beb Guérin – double bass
Eddy Gaumont – drums