Miles Davis.

Essay by SUPERMAN96University, Bachelor'sA, July 2003

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Miles Davis

One 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...