Miles Davis and the Evolution of Jazz

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Who was Miles Davis and why was he such an important element in the music of Jazz? Miles Davis, as we would know him, was born Miles Dewey Davis in Alton, Illinois on the 25th of May 1926 to a middle-class black family.. A couple of years later, Miles went on to St. Louis where he grew up. Since he was a youngster, Miles' hobby was to collect records and play them over without getting tired of them. Since his family knew Miles was so interested in the music of his time, primarily Jazz, for his thirteenth birthday Miles received his first trumpet, although he had been playing since the age of nine. With this Miles began to practice and play his trumpet along with his records. Who would have known that just three years later, at the age of 16, Miles was offered his first job with Billy Eckstine's band to replace their ill horn player. In this band that Miles was recruited into were two of Jazz's most famous players: Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker. Nobody would have guessed that this would be the start of it all. This small inexperienced child, who was picked up by chance, would re-invent Jazz like no one could imagine!

After successfully completing high school and playing for his high school band, Miles went on to New York to Julliard to study music. Although Miles was very involved and interested in his schoolwork, it turns out that he spent more time on 52nd street than in college. 52nd street was the Jazz filled street in New York that included all the hip night clubs of the time. Meant for both white and black people, 52nd street was all about Jazz and alcohol and it was the happenin' place to be, especially if you wanted to be discovered as a Jazz musician. This all led to Miles' dropping out of school and playing with the big guys on 52nd street to be discovered. In no time Davis was playing regularly with Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. At this time Miles, 19, moved up in the history of Jazz by recording his first album in New York along side of Hawkins, "Rubberlegs" Williams, and of course Parker.

A few months after Parker and Gillespie went to California, Miles got together with Benny Carter's Orchestra and traveled all the way to California as well. Again, while in California, Parker asked Miles to record another album and as a result 'Bird' decided to form a quintet with Miles as a key member. All of this without d...

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...ongside Miles.

This last tune Called Oleo, had a quick beat and the trumpet sounds were amazing, but towards the middle-end of the song I began to wander off. This was probably because I still stick to the first two song which I enjoyed greatly. One thing about this particular song though, was the end. What an end!

In conclusion to this whole research paper, I can say that I have learned a lot and heard a lot, most of which I have enjoyed. Miles was definitely a milestone in the evolution of Jazz and although he is no longer with us, he left an untouchable mark in music and music lovers of all sorts of music, this mainly due to the taste of all the sounds he invented, reinvented, and mixed throughout his days in the business. Miles Davis will truly be remembered and missed.

Works Cited

Grolier Encyclopedia (CD ROM), 1993

Miles Davis

The 70"s Jazz Revival

The Jazz Revolution: Cool
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