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.” This is the first vinyl edition comprising both the original soundtrack and the complete session outtakes, remastered from the original analog tapes and pressed on three heavyweight 10-inches. The three-panel gatefold sports a lengthy essay from Miles biographer Franck Bergerot and a pretty sick photo of the prince of darkness himself. Recommended.
- 60th anniversary 3x10-inch vinyl pressing
- remastered from the original analog tapes
- cut at Abbey Road Studios
- includes one previously unreleased track
- three-panel gatefold sleeve
- extensive liner notes by Franck Bergerot
- music label: Fontana 2018
reviewed by nick nightingale 07/2018
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