Guy Barker - Dark End of the Street

Trumpeter Guy Barker has just released his most ambitious album to date, a 2-CD set, inspired by Mozart. Titled The Amadeus Project it grew out of two separate commissions, one instrumental, the other with an actor narrating. Mozart’s most mysterious opera, die Zauberflöte, has in the process become ‘dZf’, with a Chandler-esque noir and the cool of the night about it. Stuart Nicholson tells the story behind the album and as the trumpeter prepares to turn 50 later in December, looks back on over 30 years of music making from teenage youth jazz orchestra days to gigging with Sinatra and playing on stage with Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time. Guy Barker - Dark End of the Street
It could be the starting point for a hit movie, a hit Broadway play, a hit West End musical or a hit TV series. Picture the scene – Vienna, 1791. Emanuel Schikaneder, actor-manager-playwright, brings Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart yet another draft of a libretto he has written for an opera called The Magic Flute.

Mozart reads through it, can barely follow the plot lines and tiring of Vienna in general and Schikaneder in particular, sacks him on the spot. Schikaneder, convinced they have a huge hit on their hands, is distraught.

He paces the streets of Vienna and ends up in one of the city’s famous coffee shops. Sitting in the corner is Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Schikaneder advances on them, libretto in hand: “Can you help me with my opera? he begins. So how would the libretto for The Magic Flute have turned out if Chandler and Spillane had had a hand in writing it?

That’s the angle crime writer Robert Ryan came up with when he re-wrote the storyline at the request of trumpeter Guy Barker, who used it as inspiration for his ambitious new orchestral jazz suite ‘dZf’ – short for Die Zauberflöte – on his impressive new double album The Amadeus Project.

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