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If you love jazz, you've probably heard the name Miles Davis. This trumpeter, bandleader and composer is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. You may also know him for the groundbreaking album Bitches Brew, or for his marriage. No matter how you remember him, this biography will give you a great appreciation of the man's career.
Miles Davis' early career
Miles Davis' early career spanned the thirties and forties, when he was primarily known for his jazz and big band work. His early musical influences included Clark Terry and Eddie Randle. At the age of 16, he joined the musician's union and spent a year with Eddie Randle's "Blue Devils." At the age of 17, he was invited to join the Tiny Bradshaw band, but turned it down.
In the early 1960s, Miles Davis' music began to reach a wider audience. He made use of electric musical instruments, paving the way for jazz-rock fusion. Miles Davis's 1969 album Bitches Brew was one of the best-selling jazz albums of the decade, and landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. However, his popularity dwindled in the 1970s, and his albums didn't sell as well as his earlier work.
His band's rapid evolution
Despite ongoing health issues, Miles Davis' band made a rapid evolution from traditional song-based concerts to nonstop concerts. From 1967 to 1975, Davis' concert programs followed a traditional song structure and trumpeters had expanded ranges and hours of nonstop practice. A band led by Miles Davis could be characterized as a fusion of art and science, and its rapid evolution was unprecedented in jazz history.
In the early 1950s, Miles Davis and his sextet recorded a number of albums. The last one, Kind of Blue, is considered one of the best jazz albums of all time, selling more than two million copies. Miles Davis' band changed considerably over the years, as he added new members and changed its style. Many of the members went on to play a pivotal role in the jazz fusion era.
The history of Miles Davis' marriage is filled with conflicting information. Some believe that he married for money, while others believe that his marriage was a reflection of his personal problems. In any case, the truth is somewhere in between. This is one of the biggest mysteries of the jazz world. Here's what we know so far.
The couple met when Davis was still married to dancer Frances Taylor and was visiting her friend Diahann Carroll. At the time, Davis was wearing a housecoat. At the time, the two of them were not comfortable dating. Miles and Frances later divorced.
Miles Davis' legacy is multi-faceted. He was a jazz legend surrounded by other greats. He received the Grammy Organization's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. His style was unique, keeping the tunes simple, melodic and improvisational.
Miles Davis was also a prolific composer. He collaborated with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus. He also played in big bands led by Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Eckstine. He also collaborated with guitarist Max Roach in Charlie Parker's quintet. The group also included Ron Carter and bassist Dave Holland. Miles Davis' music was highly influenced by the West Coast jazz style.
Even thirty years after his death, Miles' music continues to reverberate. New generations of musicians and fans are discovering and enjoying his works.
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