RE : Re: RARA-AVIS: JAZZ as soundtrack in French noir

From: E. Borgers (
Date: 24 Jul 2007

In Melville's films, jazz is often heard in sequences showing bars or night-clubs, it's a kind of constant thing in most of his noir films.
  Speaking of French noir, there's the soundtrack of A BOUT DE SOUFFLE by Godard, a New Wave classic wherein Martial Solal plays jazz he wrote. Rather "avant-garde" at the time, his music is well mixed with the film, but Solal never received until now a sufficient acclaim during his career as jazz composer and musician.
  I do not know if he is well known in the USA by jazz fans.
  Roger Vadim used jazz music in his films at a early stage: MJQ made the soundtrack of SAIT-ON JAMAIS (1957); he will use Art blakey- Barney Willen, Monk and others in his LIAISONS DANGEREUSES 1960 (1959)
  There were also minor crime films using jazz extensively. Most of the time the music was better than the films, often good Bs but rarely more: DES FEMMES DISPARAISSENT (Jazz messengers), UN TEMOIN DANS LA VILLE (Barney Willen)
  Also: J'IRAI CRACHER SUR VOS TOMBES, a poor film being a derivation from Vian's fake "American" HB novel. Vian, as you may know, was a jazz fan and critic, played trumpet, but I do not think he was consultant for the music. Music however was OK.
  Another flop, but this time by a master French film maker: LES TRICHEURS (1958) by Marcel Carn黠fortunately in order to look "modern" the film was supported by brilliant jazz music by Roy Elridge, Stan Getz and others.
  Most of these French films were done during the second half of the fifties and it was not by chance
  Main factors:
  -increasing popularity of modern jazz in Europe (especially France, Belgium, Sweden, Holland, England)
  -a lot of top American jazz stars were living now in Paris : because of the racial tolerance they lived there compared to their own country… and probably also: easy access to drugs, as in France it was not dealed on a big scale, at the time, neither popular with the public (so less police controls except for traffic organizers)
  -easiness to obtain other stars, for concerts…etc, in Europe. As close to the end of the fifties, the American labels gave the kiss of death to jazz music in the USA, Europe became an important place to provide work to these musicians then.
  By all this, and even more than London, since end of the forties and early fifties Paris became a buoyant jazz center, because of the American players living there- and it attracted a lot of good European players there too.
  Fortunately, a jazz label issued a few years ago a tremendous series of records (more than 70) that were made during that period of time in Paris; it's an imprint linked to Emarcy, title of the series: JAZZ IN PARIS.

Karin Montin <> a 飲it : I watched Bob le Flambeur this week and it has a pretty jazzy score. There's music in every scene, I think. I've started watch The Naked City, which by contrast has not a single note of music, at least in the first forty minutes.



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