Miles Davis

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There's a boat that's leaving soon for New York

Miles Davis, 'There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York'

Miles Davis was born May 26th, 1926 in Alton, Illinois. He grew up in a supportive and musical middle-class household, where he was introduced to the trumpet aged 13 by his father, and given private tutelage by Elwood Buchanan, a family friend who directed a music school. Buchanan emphasized playing the trumpet without vibrato, which was contrary to the common style used by trumpeters such as Louis Armstrong, and which would come to influence and help develop the Miles Davis style.
In 1944 Davis left Illinois for New York where he would attend the Juilliard School (then known as the Institute of Musical Art). While studying, Davis met saxophonist Charlie Parker and together they began to play at Harlem nightclubs. In 1945, Miles Davis, with his fathers permission, dropped out of the Juilliard School and made his first recording as a bandleader in 1946 with the Miles Davis Sextet, and in 1949 formed a nine-piece band with the addition of more unusual instruments such as the french horn, trombone and tuba. He released a a series of singles that would later be considered a significant contribution to Jazz.
In 1954 Miles Davis was signed to Columbia Records, where he formed a permanent band comprising of John Coltrane, Paul Chambers and Red Garland. They recorded several albums during the the 1950s, including Porgy and Bess and Kind of Blue, released in 1959. Now considered one of the best jazz albums ever recorded, Kind of Blue is credited as the largest-selling jazz album of all time, selling more than 2 million copies.
In 1969, Davis recorded Bitches Brew, which set the stage for the jazz fusion movement to follow. Jazz fusion was influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone, reflecting the ‘fusion’ of Jazz and rock. Bitches Brew became a best-seller, and Davis was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine – this was a first for a jazz artists.
Davis went on to receive nine grammy awards for his work before his demise in 1991, the ninth of which was awarded posthumously in 1993 for his work with Quincy Jones.