Miles Davis

Born on May 26, 1926, in Alton, Illinois, Miles Davis was a jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer who became one of the most influential musicians – jazz or otherwise – of the 20th century. Given a trumpet by his father at the age of 12, he swiftly became accomplished, joined his first band at 17, and earned a place at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. There, he became a regular at Harlem night clubs and made his first recording with Herbie Fields in 1945. Davis joined Charlie Parker's quintet and by the late 1940s, he had teamed up with Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan, mixing musical styles to create a new kind of jazz inspired in part by classical music. This new direction became dubbed cool jazz after Davis's 1956 compilation Birth of the Cool. Overcoming troubles in his personal life, he developed a moodier blues style that came to be called hard bop, his playing shaped by extensive use of a mute. From the late 1950s, he embraced other musical forms on the albums Milestones (1958), Sketches of Spain (1960) and Quiet Nights (1963). However, in 1959, he released the seminal Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. He continued to experiment through the 1960s and, heavily influenced by German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, fused jazz with electronica on the influential albums Bitches Brew (1970) and In a Silent Way (1969). Rejecting jazz, Davis then moved into the rock market but again plagued by personal issues, his output lessened through the 1980s. He died on September 28, 1991, at the age of 65. Since his death, there have been numerous reissues of his back catalog. Over the decades, many previously unissued recordings have been released including Rubberband (2019), a previously unreleased album from the mid-1980s, and Merci, Miles! Live at Vienne (2021), recorded just a few months before his death.

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Stations Featuring Miles Davis

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