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Miles Davis: The Various Musical Styles Of Miles Davis

Good Essays
Paul Pysell
Professor Murphy
Jazz in America
November 11, 2017
The Various Musical Styles of Miles Davis Miles Davis was one of the most virtuous jazz musicians ever. He was extremely innovative and always challenged himself and his band mates. This paper will focus on the many characteristics and styles of Miles’ music. These styles include: bebop, hard bop, modal jazz, his collaborations with Gil Evans, his jazz fusion period, and many more.
Bebop Era: 1945-1949 In the early 1940’s, Miles began playing in Billy Eckstein’s band. He remained in the Billy Eckstein band for only two weeks as a substitute. In those two weeks, Miles was able to play with two of bebop’s pioneers, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. After playing with Eckstein,
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In 1949, Miles formed a nine-piece band and released a series of singles that were later part of the album Birth of the Cool. It was on these records that Miles really stands out. He had a clear, non-brassy sound with ample space to solo. He has a more relaxed sound with alternating lines of melodies filled with pauses, broken rhythms, and slightly longer notes. These recordings gave birth to the “West Coast Jazz.” These recordings also highlighted Miles Davis as a separation from Charlie Parker and gave Davis a larger audience and fan base. In 1951, he began recording for the Prestige label and enlisted some the most talented beboppers of the day. Miles had developed an affinity for the partnership of trumpet and saxophone from his work with Charlie Parker. It was also around this time that Miles discovered the Harmon mute and it became a signature sound for him. In the early 1950s, Davis became addicted to heroin. Davis eventually overcame his addiction in 1954, around the same time that his performance of "'Round Midnight" at the Newport Jazz Festival earned him a recording contract with Columbia Records (“Miles Davis”). It was there that he also created a permanent band, comprised of John Coltrane, Paul Chambers, Red Garland, and Philly Joe Jones. This became the First Great Quintet. During this time…show more content…
This led him to adapt his music to include more electric instruments into his repertoire. This marked his path into the jazz fusion style. Miles also seemed to relate to more ethnic music around this time. The album Bitches Brew is a great example of this, with it being more complex, more abstract, freer and yet funkier (Carr, pg. 256). The album Bitches Brew was recorded a few following Woodstock Music Festival and it paved the way for the jazz fusion movement to follow. Soon after the album was released Davis was the first jazz artist to be feaetured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine (“Miles Davis”). Miles Davis’ music was incredibly diverse and influenced all types of music that followed. He was beloved by traditional fans, but was also adored by young jazz musicians willing to push the boundaries of traditional jazz. His traditional fans did not welcome his change of style, but it shows Davis's ability to experiment and push the boundaries. Miles excelled at every style that he tried from bebop, to hard bop, to modal jazz, to his jazz fusion
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