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Ascenseur Pour L'echafaud (180g) Vinyl LP

FontanaSKU fr-5043

beautiful 1958 score for French film noir, entirely improvised
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Lab Overview

While in Paris in November of 1957, Miles Davis was introduced to filmmaker Louis Malle and his jazz-loving assistant Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who showed him a private screening of a film they were working on, and subsequently convinced him to provide the score. Miles sketched out some rudimentary harmonic sequences in his hotel room, briefly explained the plot to his sidemen (René Urtreger on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums, Barney Wilen on tenor, Pierre Michelot on bass) and headed to the studio where they improvised the entire session without any composed theme, with clips from the film projected on the wall before them. The resulting soundtrack to Ascenseur Pour L'Échafaud (translation: "Elevator To The Gallows"… not so romantic-sounding anymore is it?) is, as you’d expect, pure Miles brilliance. Working under the precept of a soundtrack gave Miles the confidence to go down a dozen different rabbit holes chasing different iterations of a singular theme, like the solo bass & drums on “Visite Du Vigile,” or the stalking austerity of piano and trumpet couplet “Julien Dans L’Ascenseur.” Be sure to check out swanky opener “Générique,” the confidently frenetic “Sur L'Autoroute” and the cool-as-shit “Au Bar Du Petit Bac.” 12-inch LP reissue with printed liner note insert and gatefold sleeve with awesome photography, recommended.

  • 180g black vinyl pressing
  • housed in tip-ongatefold sleeve
  • includes printed liner note insert
  • featuring Miles Davis (t), Barney Wilen (t. sax), René Urtreger (p), Pierre Michelot (b), Kenny Clarke (d)
  • one of the only jazz soundtracks that was entirely improvised
  • original release year: 1958
  • music label: Fontana 2024
reviewed by nick nightingale 07/2018
UPC: 602458309423


Review & Q+A


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