Miles Davis

Jazz Musician / Trumpeter
Date Of Birth:
26 May 1926
Date Of Death:
28 September 1991
Place Of Birth:
Alton, Illinois
Best Known As:
Composer/performer of Kind of Blue

Name at birth: Miles Dewey Davis, Jr.

In the 1940s, Miles Davis went off to New York City to study music at Julliard. He ended up playing jazz with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie instead, soon playing trumpet behind some of the biggest bandleaders of the era. By the end of his career, Davis had reached legend status and is considered one of the founding voices of modern jazz. Davis was given a trumpet for his 13th birthday and proved to be a prodigy. He played in local bands in St. Louis, where he met jazz stars as they passed through town, and in 1945 he left home for Julliard. Instead of school, Davis worked with top artists like Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker, and by 1947 Davis won an Esquire critics' poll as the new star of the year. As a bandleader himself during the 1950s and '60s, his influence led to "cool" jazz and the emergence of the musician as composer and arranger. Davis recorded many classic jazz albums, including Relaxin' With Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool, and, with compositional help from Bill Evans, Kind of Blue; his 1969 Bitches Brew, merging jazz with rock and free-form improvisation, made the top 40 pop charts. Unlike many trumpeters of his era, Davis relied on tone rather than speed, often using a mute with his horn. Davis is considered one of the most influential musicians of the past century, and he was one of the most popular jazz artists of his era.
Extra Credit:

Many sources claim 25 May as Davis’s birth date, and some sources list 29 September as his death date.

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