Jazz Forum 

Music Paper

Jazz Radio

Tell A Friend About JTS

Bookmark JTS

You Can Help

Let's Trade

Miles Davis
Printer Friendly Version
Miles Davis Solos

Miles Davis Eyes 1986 Miles Davis' impact on jazz is almost incalculable. During his fifty-year career, his characteristic clear tone, and the delicate shading of his Harmon mute influenced virtually every aspect jazz. From his early days as a sideman for Charlie Parker, through his groundbreaking Birth of the Cool sessions, to his stunning small groups of the '50s and '60s, through to his electric renaissance, the trumpeter, bandleader, and composer has left a deep mark on all who came after.

Miles Dewey Davis was born on May 25, 1926 in Alton, Ill. and moved to East St. Louis, Ill. when he was a child. By the age of 10 Davis was playing trumpet, later performing in his high school band and several local jazz groups. Charlie Parker and Miles Davis In 1944 at the age of 18, Miles traveled to New York to study at the Julliard School of Music. Shortly after his arrival, he was playing in clubs with Charlie Parker, and by 1945 he had abandoned his academic studies for a full-time career as a jazz musician, initially joining Benny Carter's band and making his first recordings as a sideman. He played with Eckstine throughout 1946-1947 and was a member of Parker's group in 1947-1948, making his recording debut as a leader on a 1947 session that featured Parker, pianist John Lewis, bassist Nelson Boyd, and drummer Max Roach. In January 1949 he recorded "Birth of the Cool", his first great album with arranger Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, J. J. Johnson and pianist John Lewis. However, Columbia did not release the LP until February of 1957.

During the early 1950s, Davis struggled with an addiction to heroin and released a string of albums recorded in the innovative style of hard bop. In 1955, he kicked his drug habit and began a comeback that was marked by an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival. In 1958, Davis was reunited with Coltrane in a sextet, also including bassist Paul Chambers, pianist Bill Evans, alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderly, and drummer Philly Joe Jones. With this classic backing band, Davis recorded "Milestones" and "Kind of Blue". He was reunited with Gil Evans in a series of discs including "Porgy and Bess" and "Sketches of Spain" that pitted Davis's solo trumpet against a large jazz orchestra.

Miles Davis In the 1960s he formed a new quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams that set the standard for the decade's small group jazz, and it drew him towards a freer approach to rhythm and his first experiments with rock beats. In the late 1960s with new bandmembers Chick Corea Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, he moved into a period of further experiment with free jazz and fusion including the discs "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew".

In 1975, Davis abruptly announced his retirement, which was reportedly due to his poor health after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, he returned in 1981 with a new band and released a series of popular electrified funk arrangements of jazz. After emerging from retirement, Davis toured and recorded intermittently throughout the 1980s. In 1989, he published an acclaimed autobiography, Miles, written with the poet Quincy Troupe. He played right through the summer of 1991 at various international events, including - for virtually the only time in his career - reunions with members of his former bands, as well as a Montreux concert of his Gil Evans collaborations.

In September 1991, Davis went into hospital in Santa Monica, California for, what he described to his friends, as a 'tune-up'. On the 28th of that month, he died from pneumonia and a respiratory failure.

First Miles (Savoy 1945)
Birth of the Cool (Blue Note 1949)
And Horns (Original Jazz 1951)
Blue Period (Prestige 1951)
Conception (Original Jazz 1951)
The New Sounds of Miles Davis (Prestige 1951)
Diggin' (Prestige 1951)
Dig (Prestige 1951)
Collector's Items (Prestige 1951)
Live at the Barrel, Vol. 2 (Prestige 1952)
Miles Davis Plays the Compositions of Al Cohn (Prestige 1953)
Miles Davis Featuring Sonny Rollins (Prestige 1953)
Blue Haze (Original Jazz 1953)
Bags Groove (Original Jazz 1954)
Miles Davis Quintet [Prestige 185] (Prestige 1954)
Miles Davis & the Modern Jazz Giants (Prestige 1954)
Walkin' (Original Jazz 1954)
Green Haze (Prestige 1955)
The Musings of Miles (Original Jazz 1955)
Odyssey (Prestige 1955)
Milt and Miles (Prestige 1955)
Miles Davis and Milt Jackson Quintet / Sextet (Original Jazz 1955)
Circle in the Round (Columbia /Legacy 1955)
Round About Midnight (Columbia 1955)
Cookin' (Original Jazz 1955)
The New Miles Davis Quintet (Prestige 1955)
Miles (Prestige 1955)
Miles Davis & Horns 51-53 (Original Jazz 1955)
Miles & Monk at Newport [live] (Columbia 1955)
Workin' (Original Jazz 1956)
Steamin' (Original Jazz 1956)
Relaxin' (Prestige 1956)
Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet (DCC 1956)
Nouvelle Vague on CD [Original Soundtrack] (Philips 1956)
Miles Ahead (Columbia / Legacy 1957)
Milestones [Columbia] (Columbia 1958)
Miles Davis at Newport 1958 [live] (Columbia / Legacy 1958)
Porgy and Bess (Columbia / Legacy 1958)
Kind of Blue (Columbia / Legacy 1959)
Sketches of Spain (Columbia / Legacy 1959)
Directions (Columbia 1960)
Friday at the Blackhawk [live] (CBS 1960)
Friday at the Blackhawk, Vol. 2 [live] (CBS 1960)
Friday and Saturday Nights in Person [live] (Columbia 1961)
In Person: Friday Night at the Blackhawk [live] (Columbia 1961)
Miles Davis in Person, Vol. 1 [live] (Columbia 1961)
Miles Davis in Person, Vol. 2 [live] (Columbia 1961)
In Person: Saturday Night at the Blackhawk [live] (Columbia 1961)
At Carnegie Hall [live] (Columbia / Legacy 1961)
Miles in St Louis [live] (VGM 1961)
In Person at the Blackhawk [live] (CBS 1961)
Someday My Prince Will Come (Columbia 1961)
Quiet Nights (Columbia / Legacy 1962)
Sorcerer (Columbia / Legacy 1962)
Miles at Antibes [live] (CBS 1962)
Seven Steps to Heaven (Columbia 1963)
Miles in Antibes [live] (CBS 1963)
Four & More [live] (Columbia 1964)
My Funny Valentine [live] (Columbia 1964)
Miles in Tokyo [live] (Columbia 1964)
Miles in Berlin [live] (CBS 1964)
In Europe [live] (CBS 1964)
E.S.P. (Columbia / Legacy 1965)
Live at the Plugged Nickel (CBS 1965)
Miles Smiles (Columbia / Legacy 1966)
In Berlin [live] (Columbia 1966)
Nefertiti (Columbia / Legacy 1967)
Miles in the Sky (Columbia / Legacy 1968)
Filles de Kilimanjaro (Columbia 1968)
In a Silent Way (Columbia 1969)
Bitches Brew (Columbia / Legacy 1969)
Big Fun (Columbia / Legacy 1969)
Live-Evil (Columbia / Legacy 1970)
A Tribute to Jack Johnson (Columbia 1970)
Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West [live] (Columbia / Legacy 1970)
Miles Davis at Fillmore: Live at the... (Columbia/Legacy 1970)
On the Corner (Columbia / Legacy 1972)
Get Up with It (Columbia / Legacy 1972)
Miles Davis in Europe Lincoln Center [live] (Columbia 1972)
In Concert: Live at Philharmonic Hall (Columbia 1972)
Dark Magus [live] (Tristar 1974)
Dangaea [live] (Columbia 1975)
Agharta [live] (Columbia 1975)
We Want Miles (Columbia 1981)
The Man with the Horn (Columbia 1981)
Star People (Columbia 1982)
New Quintet (Original Jazz 1982)
Decoy (Columbia 1983)
Aura (Columbia 1985)
You're Under Arrest (Columbia 1985)
Tutu (Warner 1986)
Music from Siesta (Warner 1987)
Live Around the World (Warner 1988)
Miles in Montreux [live] (Jazz Door 1989)
Amandla (Warner 1989)
Dingo (Warner 1990)
Hot Spot (Antilles 1990)
Doo-Bop (Warner 1991)

Sources: A & E Television Networks, RollingStone.com
Jazz Posters
Sablan Bruni - Thelonious Monk