Earliest known TV footage of Miles Davis found in France

France's National Audiovisual Institute INA says it has unearthed the earliest known television images of jazz great Miles Davis

A rare 1957 Christmas Day broadcast of Miles Davis, reportedly the earliest surviving televised images of the jazz great, has been unearthed in France, ahead of Friday's release of a posthumous record.

France's National Audiovisual Institute (INA) posted the four-minute video on its website this week, saying it had turned up during an inventory of one of its vaults.

It shows the 31-year-old virtuoso trumpeter with the French musicians he assembled to record the avant-garde soundtrack to the Louis Malle crime classic "Elevator for the Gallows".

The show was recorded on December 7, 1957 -- just a few days after the musicians completed the film soundtrack -- and broadcast on Christmas Day.

For the first two and a half minutes Davis is in the background, the musicians playing against an other-worldly black-and-white moonscape.

The camera then zooms in on Davis, his body hardly moving in a trim black suit and white shirt, as he begins a solo for the frantic rendering of the "Dig" theme by saxophonist Jackie McLean.

"These images are not only the only ones showing the quintet at work, but also the oldest known images of Miles Davis playing on a television show," INA said.

INA director Pascal Rozat told AFP that previously the earliest surviving footage of Davis playing was a German television programme with German big band composer Erwin Lehn from December 18, 1957.

The newly found footage "is indeed the oldest of Miles Davis, even though it's said he appeared earlier on American television, which hasn't been conserved," Rozat said.

The discovery comes as Warner Brothers released on Friday the unfinished "Rubberband", a funk-soul album of tracks recorded on-and-off in the mid-1980s.

But Davis abandoned the project for other work and never returned to it before his death in 1991.