Miles Davis

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The Electric Miles Davis

Born in Alton, Illinois, Miles Davis grew up in a middle-class family in East St. Louis. Miles Davis took up the trumpet at the age of 13 and was playing professionally two years later. Some of his first gigs included performances with his high school bandand playing with Eddie Randall and the blue Devils. Miles Davis has said that the greatest musical experience of his life was hearing the Billy Eckstine orchestra when it passed through St. Louis. In September 1944 Davis went to New York to study at Juilliard but spend much more time hanging out on 52nd Street and eventually dropped out of school. He moved from his home in East St. Louis to New York primarily to enter school but also to locate his musical idol, Charlie Parker. He played with Parker live and in recordings from the period of 1945 to 1948. Davis began leading his own group in 1948 as well as working with arranger Gil Evans. Davis’ career was briefly interrupted by a heroin addiction, although he continued to record with other popular bop musicians.

1955 was Miles Davis’ breakthrough year. His performance of "round midnight" at the Newport Jazz Festival alerted the critics that he was "back". Davis form a quintet which included Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, and John Coletrain. In 1957 Davis made the first of many solo recordings with the unusual jazz orchestrations of Gil Evans, and he wrote music for film by Louis Malle.

In 1963Davis formed a new quintet including the talents of Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter. The late 1960s sound Davis playing with a variety of talented musicians. Davis retired during the mid-‘70s due to severe ailments and an automobile accident. He returned in 1980 making new recordings and expensive tours. He received an honorary doctorate of music from the New England Conservatory in 1986 in honor of his long-standing achievements.

Davis’ playing Incorporated many styles, from bop to modal fusion. Oftentimes Davis was the victim of negative criticism because of his adopting sometimes unpopular styles of music, but he is most respected for being one of a few jazz musicians who continually took the music to newer and more creative heights.

The musical events Miles Davis created during his so-called electric period (1969-1975), are acts of constant exploring in c...

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...und producers argue they are sparing us from," says Teo. For a future re-issue, it would be terrific if Columbia restored the entire sets and give us a four CD package. We also need the complete live sets excepted from Live-Evil. These moments are important enough in Miles’ progression and the music of these nights is deserving of reaching the public. And the considerable legions of Miles fanatics are willing to dish out the money.

In addition to his playing and nurturing of excellent talent, Miles Davis was quite remarkable in his rare ability to continually evolve. Most jazz musicians generally performed their style early on and spend the rest of their careers refining their sound. In contrast Miles Davis every five years or so would forge ahead, and do to his restless nature he not only played bop but helped found cool jazz, hard bop, modal music, his own unusual brand of the avant-garde and fusion. Jazz history would be much different if Davis had not existed. If Miles Davis had retired in 1960, he would still be famous in jazz history, but he had many accomplishments still to come. In 1991 Miles Davis passed away, he was 65. Jazz lost a man that was more than a god.
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