Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud

A favourite clip from Louis Malle’s 1958 debut movie, Ascenseur Pour L’Échafaud, starring Jeanne Moreau with a wonderful improvised soundtrack by Miles Davis.

Davis was booked to perform at the Club Saint-Germain in Paris for November 1957. Jean-Paul Rappeneau, a jazz fan and Louis Malle’s assistant at the time introduced him to Malle, and Davis agreed to record the music after attending a private screening. On December 4, he brought his four sidemen to the recording studio without having had them prepare anything. Davis only gave the musicians a few rudimentary harmonic sequences he had assembled in his hotel room, and, once the plot was explained, the band improvised without any precomposed theme, while edited loops of the musically relevant film sequences were projected in the background. www.discogs.com

I have to admit I’ve not yet seen the film (though I did once see Jeanne Moreau looking in our gallery window) but I’ve listened to the soundtrack countless times. I bought the LP years ago after reading a recommendation by Richard Williams and I agree with him that it’s one of Miles Davis’s best.

Frames of reference

All Blues

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Seen on the way to the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, thanks to God’s Own Junkyard, a parade of shops on Blackhorse Lane feels the William Morris effect, the spirit of regeneration brought to the area by the museum’s own renovation, with maybe a few ripples of Olympic legacy. Continue reading “All Blues”

Frames of reference

Kind Of Red

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A quintet of five new paintings by Sean Scully entitled Kind of Red, at the Timothy Taylor Gallery. This is painting as a martial art: prepare, focus, get to work; there’s a no-nonsense approach to these blocks of colour thrown onto huge sheet metal plates, rocking in rhythm across the wall. It’s easy to imagine Scully dancing before them wielding a fat wall-painting brush. And in the exhibition catalogue there’s a wonderful, curious and perceptive essay by Richard Williams. Continue reading “Kind Of Red”

Frames of reference

Hojas De Otoño

Autumn leaves in the Jardin de Principe in Aranjuez, Spain. We were driving from Madrid to Toledo and stopped here for lunch and a walk in the park. This garden and the adjacent Jardin de la Isla were laid out around the royal palace of Philip II in the 16th century, 200 years before the present town was built. They became the inspiration in 1939 for the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquín Rodrigo. Continue reading “Hojas De Otoño”

Frames of reference