Born and raised in Illinois, Miles Davis is one of the most influential and best known jazz musicians of the 20th century. Although he enrolled at Juilliard, he left his studies to join Charlie Parker’s bepop quintet as a saxophonist. Soon after, he recorded the ground breaking album, “Birth of Cool” which was key to the development of cool jazz.
His nine-person group, the Miles Davis Nonet, featured an unusual instrumental line up with a French horn and tuba along with the more traditional jazz instruments. Their goal was to sound more like the human voice. They played carefully arranged works and emphasized a relaxed, melodic approach.
Soon after his efforts with the Nonet to bring about cool jazz, Davis struggled with heroin addiction, which he eventually beat. This lead to a period of moodiness and withdrawal. His iconic raspy, whisper tone wasn’t heard before this point. After an operation to remove polyps from his larynx, he was told not to speak while he recovered. Instead, he got into an argument and raised his voice, permanently damaging his vocal chords.
Amazingly, this new “prince of darkness” persona suited him well and his career exploded. He continued to struggle with drug addictions and missed several playing years as a result. When he came back to the world of jazz, he struggled to regain the proper mouth position for trumpet.
Much of his later work isn’t as well regarded as his earlier musical stylings. However, his career served to influence generations of jazz musicians and his music is still popular today. He was buried near his idol Duke Ellington.
Come hear recordings of Miles Davis and many other jazz greats at Jazz Kitchen. Our locations in Columbia, MO, Lubbock, TX, Kansas City, KS, Kansas City, MO and Omaha, NE have great jazz tunes on to enhance the fabulous Cajun food. Come join the party.