Miles Davis: A Pioneer of Jazz
Written by DeepJams on October 11, 2016
How Miles Davis Shaped Jazz Music
After a five-decade career, there is a lot to be said about one of the world’s most successful and influential jazz figures out there. Miles Davis was born May 26th, 1926 and this past year would have marked the musicians 90th birthday. In Davis’ time, and thankful to his musical contributions, there were major stylistic change, evolution, and especially musical progression. Although Davis has passed, the impressions he left on jazz and jazz fusion is something that could never fade. Davis was a musical pioneer and his work still continues to be recognized as sheer brilliance.
Davis’ early life consisted of being raised in Southern Illinois and grabbing musical influence and admiration from the gospel sound of churches he attended as a kid. At age 13, his father, Miles Dewey Davis Jr., introduced him to the trumpet and with this his knowledge of trumpet-playing and jazz grew at an accelerating speed. As Davis’ own unique and masterly style began to flourish, so did his career. By the time he was in high school, he was already playing professionally. Soon after his high school graduation, Davis moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School of Music where he first began to shape music with Charlie Parker, one of Davis’ idols at the time.
Towards the end of the 50’s, his album Kind of Blue went acknowledged as not only the best jazz album ever created before, but also the largest selling jazz album of all time. This musical beginning of Miles Davis is what really got his improvisational style of jazz recognized, appreciated, and further prepared to shape modern jazz. His specific style and sound of music was getting more recognition. He was proving his talents and further helped anticipate not only what he would soon be known for, but also the movement in jazz fusion that would soon follow him.
The 60’s was a time in which audiences got to sit back and watch Davis and other major artists literally just pave the way for what jazz fusion has now become. Musicians alongside Davis such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa defined the authentic blend of rock and jazz and truly showed the listeners what it was all about. Although the 60’s consisted of critics claiming that Davis’ style was regressive of what jazz truly is, Davis continued making his music despite what listeners were saying. Hi 1970 release of the album Bitches Brew was the catapult in his career as the world’s most recognized jazz artist. His distinguishable style in jazz fusion helped his time in the 70’s greatly perpetuate his success although he was going in and out of producing music. The reinvention of Miles Davis consisted of him incorporating new additives to his music (samples, synthesizers, etc.) and it’s what led his lasting career well into the 80’s and even earned him a multitude of Grammys that not only stood for his successful projects, but also his permanent impression on jazz fusion.