Miles Davis Essay

Submitted By MJROCK76
Words: 830
Pages: 4

Miles Davis once said that music was "a curse" for him because he thought of nothing else while he was awake. Music was his life. But it wasn't always the passion of his life. At first, Miles wanted to be a baseball player and then a doctor, like his father, who was a dentist. But after his father gave him his first trumpet, at the age of 11, all young Miles wanted to do was learn to play the golden horn better. He practiced for hours every day and when he entered Lincoln High School, in East St. Louis, Illinois, where he grew up, he became the trumpet star of the band. East St. Louis is on the Mississippi River, across from St. Louis, Missouri and riverboats use to travel from New Orleans, up to St. Louis carrying people like trains and airplanes do today. These riverboats employed great jazz musicians to play for their passengers, and when the boats docked in St. Louis, Miles, after he became a musician would travel across the river to hear and meet many of them.

After graduating from high school, in 1944, Miles met Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in St. Louis and decided he wanted to become a jazz musician and live in New York City. At the age of 18, Miles moved to "The Big Apple" to study at the Juilliard School of Music, one of the best music schools in the world. But at night, Miles ran the streets, playing music with the greats of bebop like Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Thelonious Monk. During the day, Miles studied classical music at Juilliard and played jazz at night. This created a tension in young Miles between learning European notated, classical music and playing the more improvisational approaches of African-American jazz. His answer was to combine the two, not favoring one over the other. When Miles Davis recorded and released "Birth of the Cool", in 1950, it made him a leader and a "star" in the music world. Because of his "cool" attitude and the beautiful, sharp, up-to-date clothes that he wore, Miles also became a leader of both style and music. People copied the way he acted and dressed, while musicians tried to play with his air of "cool" detachment. As he became more successful, Miles bought and drove sleek, fast sports cars like Lamborghini's and Ferrari's.

In later years, Miles played his trumpet with his back to the audience. This confused and angered some people who thought he did it because he was arrogant. But the real reason Miles played this way was because it made it easier for him to give cues and signals - when to play and what to play - to his band. He once told a newspaper reporter who asked him why he played this way: "nobody ever asks classical orchestra conductors why they have their backs to the audience. The reason is that they're telling the orchestra what to play and when. You don't criticize them for doing it, so why do you criticize me for doing the very same thing." In the end, Miles was a man of few words, never