Davis, Miles, 1926–91, American jazz musician, b. Alton, Ill. Rising to prominence with the birth of modern jazz in the mid-1940s, when he was a sideman in Charlie Parker's bop quintet, Davis became a dominant force in jazz trumpet. He was influential in the development of "cool" jazz in 1949–50, led numerous outstanding small groups through the 1950s and 60s, and produced a successful blend of jazz and rock music in the 1970s and 80s. Davis's trumpet and flügelhorn styles were warmly lyrical and were marked by a brilliant use of mutes. He made many recordings, which reflect his stylistic changes; Kind of Blue (1959), a landmark of modal jazz, has been a best-seller since it was issued.
See Miles: The Autobiography (1989, with Q. Troupe); biographies by I. Carr (1982), J. Chambers (2 vol., 1983–85), B. McRae (1988), and J. Szwed (2002); Q. Troupe, Miles and Me (2000).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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