February 4th, 2015
Miles Dewey Davis III
Born: 05/26/1926 (Alton, Illinois)
Died: 09/28/1991 (Santa Monica, California)
Davis was born in Alton, Illinois, and raised in an upper middle class home in an East St. Louis home.
His father was a dentist and his mother was a music teacher.
Miles was given his first trumpet when he was 13 years old.
He was a child prodigy.
The mastery of his instrument grew rapidly under his influences of older jazzmen like Clark Terry, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billy Eckstine, just to name a few.
He left the Midwest to attend the Institute of Musical Art in New York City (renamed Juilliard) in September 1944.
After playing in New York clubs with Charlie Parker, he left his academic studies for a full-time career as a jazz musician.
Initially joined Benny Carter’s band and made his first recordings as a sideman.
Just at the beginning of the 1950s, he led his first small groups.
The rise of the Black Power Movement, amongst many other things, made Miles’ music deliver a more electrified and even more passionate pulse.
Also, in the early 1950s, Davis became addicted to heroin, and overcame his addiction in 1954.
1975, Miles became addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Eventually, he took a five year hiatus from his musical career.
1979, he met an American actress named Cicely Tyson, who helped him overcome his cocaine addiction. He and Tyson married in 1981.
Davis died in Santa Monica, CA at the age of 65. His cause of death was pneumonia, respiratory failure and a stroke.
He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Bronx, NY.
Davis played the trumpet lyrically, reflectively, and melodically.
He used the harmon mute, making his sound more intimate and personal.
Davis’ jazz technique was very versatile, but his instrumental approach was frequent and common.
His style was innovative, causing a inimitable development in jazz during that era.
Davis was influenced by older jazzmen but had a slow, less flashy style.
Eventually his style evolved into bebop, with a sound that simulated rock but still passed as jazz and…