Miles. Davis, trumpet
Barney Wilen, tenor-sax
Rene Urtreger, piano
Pierre Michelot, bass
Kenny Clarke, drums
Performed by a Miles Davis-fronted European band for a movie by Louis Malle, this music helped define the sound of film noir.
It made viewers think the genre’s films had always sounded just so, with slow-walking bass beats and muted, slithering horn lines miming the characters on the screen--and underlining their emotions.
The melodies here are brief fragments, sometimes rising up only to disappear and then briefly return.
This is Miles playing in the moment, improvising musical impressions as he watched the screen.
And what he played managed to capture the era of postwar everywhere, while it offered Davis the freedom to test his on-the-spot compositional skills within a minimalist context.
How many other beboppers who worked within the shadow of Charlie Parker could have ever recorded these little gems? --John Szwed