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Miles Davis. Essay

1641 words - 7 pages

Miles DavisOne of the most popular jazz musicians of all time is Miles Davis. Davis brought many new sounds and sights to the world of jazz. In his time, he had influence as an innovative bandleader, as well as a composer. Davis's pure sound was a major part of his unparalleled success.Miles Davis was born on May 26, 1926. He spent his childhood years in East St. Louis. His father was tough, but seemed to have Miles' best interests in mind. As for his mother, she seemed to be less understanding of her son. Racism was an inevitable factor in the times that Miles was growing up. Being the best trumpet player in high school was not good enough because white students got the first shot at a position to play. Davis's first job was with a jumping small band called Eddie Randall's Blue Devils. He was only 15 at the time and this brought him local recognition. Davis caught a big break in the summer of 1944 when the Billy Eckstine big band came to St. Louis without a trumpet player. Davis sat in with the band and got his first taste of playing in a big spotlight with a big-time band.Later that year, in the fall, Davis made his way to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. Davis learned the teachings of Thelonious Monk. Monk had a great influence on him and Davis learned his rhythms, his dramatic use of space in solos, and his insistence on melody. Davis found favor with older musicians. He sat in with the likes of Coleman Hawkins and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis on 52nd Street. Davis considered his first recordings to be mostly inaudible. He felt that one could barely hear him playing in the recordings. His second recording featured himself with Charlie Parker. This recording took place on November 26, 1945, when Davis was still a nervous 19-year-old kid who lacked the agility of a mature musician. Davis faced some harsh reviews towards his early recordings mainly having to do with his sometimes rusty and undeveloped playing.Despite these early critics, Davis was tapping into his own original idea: a mellower sonority for modern jazz. Two years later, at the age of 21, Davis would record four of his own tunes for Savoy, and this time Parker would be a sideman on tenor saxophone. He found a niche for his trumpet sound in compositions like "Milestones" and "Sippin' at Bells." These songs were darker in texture than comparable Charlie Parker arrangements. Davis began to develop a distinctive voice as a player. This was shown on ballads with Parker such as the 1947 "My Old Flame" and "Out of Nowhere." Davis consistently played with Parker between 1945 and 1949. However, by 1949 he became irritated by Parker's "irresponsibility" to the band. Parker became eager to try a different kind of music called "bebop."Miles Davis was judged at his abilities by being compared to Dizzy Gillespie. As Davis matured, he was able to do things that Gillespie shied away from. By the 1950s, his blues had a rich, down-home quality. Gillespie was quoted as saying,...

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