He was man of contradictions, sometimes angry and arrogant, and on other occasions generous and introspective. He was also a genius who discovered and encouraged others. His haunting tone and constantly changing style allowed him to become involved in just about anything and everything that happened in modern jazz. His unique playing style, with its voice like quality and tone that was almost free of vibrato, could sometimes be melancholy, at others times assertive. It helped to make him the model for generations of jazz musicians and for jazz lovers the world over Miles Davis defined cool.
Here was another jazzman that came, not from the poor sided of town, but from relative affluence. His father was a dentist and a year after Miles Dewey Davis III was born in May 1926, in Alton, Illinois the family moved to East St Louis. For his thirteenth birthday Miles was given a trumpet and lessons with a local jazz musician named Elwood Buchanan. By the age of fifteen he had already got his musicians’ union card allowing him to play around St. Louis with Eddie Randall’s Blue Devils.
The rest is history…
Celebrate with our Miles Davis playlist; hear it here
“To be and stay a great musician you’ve got to always be open to what’s new, what’s happening at the moment.”– Miles Davis
“I always listen to what I can leave out.” – Miles Davis
“A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do. I’m still doing it.” – Miles Davis
“I don’t care if a dude is purple with green breath as long as he can swing” – Miles Davis
“You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads.” – Miles Davis
“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” – Miles Davis
“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” – Miles Davis