Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Miles Davis born 26 May 1926

Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th-century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.

Born in Alton, Illinois, and raised in East St. Louis, Davis left to study at Juilliard in New York City, before dropping out and making his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's bebop quintet from 1945 to 1948. Shortly after, he recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol Records, which were instrumental to the development of cool jazz. In the early 1950s, Miles Davis recorded some of the earliest hard bop music while on Prestige Records but did so haphazardly due to a heroin addiction.


After a widely acclaimed comeback performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records and recorded the 1957 album 'Round About Midnight. It was his first work with saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Paul Chambers, key members of the sextet he led into the early 1960s. 

During this period, he alternated between orchestral jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, such as the Spanish music-influenced Sketches of Spain (1960), and band recordings, such as Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959). The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time, having sold over five million copies in the U.S.

Davis made several line-up changes while recording Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), his 1961 Blackhawk concerts, and Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), another mainstream success that introduced bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, and drummer Tony Williams. After adding saxophonist Wayne Shorter to his new quintet in 1964, Davis led them on a series of more abstract recordings often composed by the band members, helping pioneer the post-bop genre with albums such as E.S.P (1965) and Miles Smiles (1967), before transitioning into his electric period.

During the 1970s, he experimented with rock, funk, African rhythms, emerging electronic music technology, and an ever-changing line-up of musicians, including keyboardist Joe Zawinul, drummer Al Foster, and guitarist John McLaughlin. This period, beginning with Davis' 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career, alienating and challenging many in jazz. His million-selling 1970 record Bitches Brew helped spark a resurgence in the genre's commercial popularity with jazz fusion as the decade progressed. After appearances at the 1975 Newport Jazz Festival in July and the Schaefer Music Festival in New York in September, Davis dropped out of music.

In his autobiography, Davis wrote frankly about his life during his hiatus from music. He chronicled his poor health due to heavy use of alcohol and cocaine. By December 1975, he had regained enough strength to undergo a much needed hip replacement operation. In December 1976, Columbia was reluctant to renew his contract and pay his usual large advances. But after his lawyer started negotiating with United Artists, Columbia matched their offer, establishing the Miles Davis Fund to pay him regularly. Having played the trumpet little throughout the previous three years, Davis found it difficult to reclaim his embouchure.

Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop sounds on albums such as The Man with the Horn (1981) and Tutu (1986). Critics were often unreceptive but the decade garnered Davis his highest level of commercial recognition. He performed sold-out concerts worldwide, while branching out into visual arts, film, and television work, before his death.

In early September 1991, Davis checked into St. John's Hospital near his home in Santa Monica, California, for routine tests. Doctors suggested he have a tracheal tube implanted to relieve his breathing after repeated bouts of bronchial pneumonia. The suggestion provoked an outburst from Davis that led to an intracerebral hemorrhage followed by a coma. After several days on life support, his machine was turned off and he died on September 28, 1991. He was 65 years old. 

His death was attributed to the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York City, with one of his trumpets, near the site of Duke Ellington's grave.

In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz". Rolling Stone described him as "the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century," while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period. (Edited from Wikipedia)


boppinbob said...

For Miles Davis – Four Classic Albums (Avid 2013)” go here:

1-10: ‘Miles Ahead’
1. Springsville
2. The Maids Of Cadiz
3. The Duke
4. My Ship
5. Miles Ahead
6. Blues For Pablo
7. New Rhumba
8. The Meaning of the Blues
9. Lament
10. I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed (By Anyone But You)
11-15: ‘Sketches Of Spain’
11. Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio)
12. Will O’ The Wisp
13. The Pan Piper
14. Saeta
15. Solea

1-13: ‘Porgy & Bess’
1. Buzzard Song
2. Bess, You Is My Woman Now
3. Gone
4. Gone, Gone, Gone
5. Summertime
6. Oh Bess, Where’s My Bess
7. Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)
8. Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab
9. My Man’s Gone Now
10. It Ain’t Necessarily So
11. Here Come De Honey Man
12. I Loves You, Porgy
13. There’s A Boat that’s Leaving Soon For New York
14-23: ‘Ascenseur Pour L’Echafaud’
14. Generique
15. L’Assassinat de Carala
16. Sur L’Autoroute
17. Julien Dans L’Ascenseur
18. Florence Sur Les Champs Elysees
19. Diner Au Motel
20. Evasion De Julien
21. Visite Du Vigile
22. Au Bar Du Petit Bac
23. Chez Le Photographe Du Motel

Looking back across that time, these albums (especially the collaborations with Gil Evans) are as 'fresh' today as they were when first recorded and still considered by many to represent, not only some of the finest jazz music Davis ever recorded, but some of the finest music recorded...period. They stand testament to a wonderful and unique musical partnership.(Amazon notes)

For “The Miles Davis Quintet – Four Classic Albums (Avid 2020)” go here:

Cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
1-1 My Funny Valentine 6:00
1-2 Blues By Five 9:57
1-3 Airegin 4:26
1-4 Tune-Up/When Lights Are Low 13:10
Relaxin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
1-5 If I Were A Bell 8:16
1-6 You're My Everything 5:18
1-7 I Could Write A Book 5:09
1-8 Oleo 5:53
1-9 If It Could Happen To You 6:38
1-10 Woody'n You 5:02
Workin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
2-1 It Never Entered My Mind 5:24
2-2 Four 7:13
2-3 In Your Own Sweet Way 5:47
2-4 The Theme Take #1 2:00
2-5 Trane's Blues 8:34
3-6 Ahmed's Blues 7:24
3-7 Half Nelson 4:46
3-8 The Theme Take #2 1:04
Steamin' With The Miles Davis Quintet
3-9 Surrey With The Fringe On Top 9:07
3-10 Salt Peanuts 6:11
3-11 Something I Dreamed Last Night 6:17
3-12 Diane 7:54
3-13 Well, You Needn't 6:24
3-14 When I Fall In Love 4:27

A true classic jazz quartet comes to AVID Jazz only this time the quartet is a Quintet! The Miles Davis Quintet present four classic albums 'Cookin'; 'Relaxin'; ''Workin' & 'Steamin'. Universally recognised as one of the greatest jazz quintets ever recorded (until Miles created the 2nd great jazz quintet in the 1960s!), Miles Davis was at the top of his game when, in October 1956, he bought together four of the greatest musicians of the day (including one who would go on to become a jazz legend) to record a bunch of tunes that would make up the four classic albums we are honouring with this fine release. Alongside Miles Davis, was John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and 'Philly' Joe Jones on drums. The music these guys made that day, created jazz history, but rather than ramble on about it, we'll let the music speak for itself. (Avid notes)

rntcj said...


Thanx for these. "New" additions to his collection. Given tickets to see him in concert in Toronto but was cancelled due to him being ill. Concert never happened as he died shortly thereafter.

Ciao! For now.