Miles Davis: Ascenseur pour l’échafaud Cover

Mile Davis: Lift to the Scaffold (OST)

Miles Davis: Lift to the ScaffoldMile Davis: Lift to the Scaffold, OST (Fontana, 1958).

French film director and screenwriter Jean-Paul Rappeneau, jazz lover, and Louis Malle‘s collaborator at that moment, suggested him ask Miles Davis whether he would like to create the music for his next film, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud.

Davis felt better in France than in the United States. He used to see a very different musical environment, and how jazz musicians were more respected than in their own country. In one of his visits, in November 1957, for a concert at the club Saint-Germain of Paris, Rappeneau introduced him to Louis Malle. They met, and once Malle told him the story, and projected the film, David accepted the deal.

So he brought together Barney Wilen (tenor sax), Rene Urtreger (piano), Pierre Michelot (double bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums), all French except the latter, also famous for playing with other jazz legends as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Davis’s tactic was just give to his musicians some chords and some notes that he had thought in his hotel room after watching the movie, and tell them the plot. From there it was all improvisation, while in the background were projected loops of some film sequences.

Cigarettes, cars, deception, murder… All elements so that Davis and his band recreate to perfection all the atmosphere of French film noir. Elegant, melancholy, gloomy, image and music are one, music is part of the plot, part of the film script.

From here, and in just a few more than one year, Davis recorded two of his best albums, Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain.

Lift to the ScaffoldMiles Davis, recorded at Le Poste Parisien Studio in Paris, on December 4 and 5, 1957. The video version refers to the CD edition published in 1990 by PloyGram Records.

Track Listing:

  1. “Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées (take 1)” 2:25
  2. “Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées (take 2)” 5:20
  3. “Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées (take 3)” 2:47
  4. “Nuit Sur Les Champs-Élysées (take 4)” 2:59
  5. “Assassinat (take 1)” 2:02
  6. “Assassinat (take 2)” 2:10
  7. “Assassinat (take 3)” 2:10
  8. “Motel” 3:56
  9. “Final (take 1)” 3:05
  10. “Final (take 2)” 3:00
  11. “Final (take 3)” 4:04
  12. “Ascenseur” 1:57
  13. “Le Petit Bal (take 1)” 2:40
  1. “Le Petit Bal (take 2)” 2:53
  2. “Séquence Voiture (take 1)” 2:56
  3. “Séquence Voiture (take 2)” 2:16
  4. “Générique” 2:45
  5. “L’ Assassinat de Carala” 2:10
  6. “Sur L’Autoroute” 2:15
  7. “Julien Dans L’Ascenseur” 2:07
  8. “Florence Sur Les Champs Élysées” 2:50
  9. “Diner au Motel” 3:58
  10. “Évasion De Julien” 0:53
  11. “Visite Du Vigile” 2:00
  12. “Au Bar du Petit Bac” 2:50
  13. “Chez Le Photographe Du Motel” 3:50
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