Miles Davis was one of the greatest and most important figures in jazz history. Miles Dewey Davis III was a musician, composer, arranger, producer and bandleader all in one. Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development in jazz after World War 2. He was one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century along with Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong. His versatility landed him at the forefront of bebop, cool jazz, modal, hard bop and fusion (Kirker, 2005:1). His sound went on to influence many other newer forms of music today such as pop, soul, R&B, funk and rap. As one of the last trumpet players, Davis employed a lyrical, melodic style that was known for its minimalism as well …show more content…
The album ‘Kind Of Blue’ also best exemplifies the sound. Released in 1959, it had been called the perfect jazz album. Miles introduced the music to musicians and provoking modal improvisation by using scales instead of chords as a springboard for solos (Kirker, 2001:2). Kind Of Blue not only popularised modality in jazz, it made jazz accessible to a variety of listeners.
Davis followed down a path that led to the most productive yet controversial phrase of his career between 1969 and 1975. In the face of the ascendancy of rock and roll, he began introducing electronics and a rock aesthetic. Electric keyboards were added in and a wah-wah effect pedal for his trumpet, and he took on musicians with rock experience into his band (Svorinich, 2001:100). 1972’s On The Corner made the influence of modern composer Stockhausen more evident. This transition required Davis and his band to adapt to modern, electric instruments in both performance and studio. Bitches Brew for instance, is a case study in the use of electronic effects, multi-tracking, tape loops and other editing techniques. “In A Silent Way” and its successor “Bitches Brew” was the first truly successful amalgamations of jazz with rock music, laying the groundwork for the genre that would be known as fusion.
From 1967’s Nefertiti to the landmark 1969’s Bitches Brew, a