Miles Davis Influences

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Brianna Kuzma 03/26/2018 MUS 116-001 Michael D’Angelo Miles Davis Miles Davis is one of the most influential people in the history of jazz. He was an American trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. Davis was a central figure in the evolution of jazz, and one cannot reflect on the progression of this genre without mentioning his name. Throughout his illustrious career, he never stopped evolving and honing his musical talents. Although he had many mentors and influences, Davis always sought to push forward and challenge the boundaries set by his contemporaries and predecessors. Miles Davis continually drove himself to be an innovator; and as a result, he has one of the most remarkable musical legacies of all time. On May 26, 1926,…show more content…
Evans was in many ways the polar opposite of Parker. Evans was the arranger for the Thornhill Band which employed many interesting and unorthodox approaches for an orchestra; this would become the template for Evans and Davis’ future work. For example, their work together drew on many devices such as “static harmonies, unusual instruments (for jazz) such as French horn and tuba, rich voicings” which Evans perfected during his period with Thornhill. Thus the Thornhill Band was the model for Miles Davis’ album which was later dubbed the Birth of the Cool. The duo were seeking to replicate the Thornhill sound with the fewest amount of instruments (Gioia 256-257). Gil Evans’ basement in New York became the fertile soil from which the new cool sound grew. The duo together with like-minded artists including Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and Lee Konitz to form a nonet. With Davis’ vision and organization, they developed a sound that was “subdued, stylish, and detached, the antithesis of the current bebop trend” (Kirker). This nine-piece band with unusual additions, such as French horn, trombone, and tuba recorded multiple singles throughout several sessions that were later compiled into the landmark album Birth of the Cool which was later considered an incredible contribution to modern jazz (“Miles Davis”). This album…show more content…
In 1954, his solo on “Walkin’”, a central album of the Hard Bop genre, displayed his refined and polished ability to command his instrument. His rich tone and controlled improvisation reflected some of his best work, and his relaxed swing influenced the whole group. At the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, Davis burst back onto the jazz scene in full force. This performance would later be dubbed the turning point of his career (Gioai 268). He played his own version of “Round Midnight” by Thelonious, and it was so well received that he was offered a contract with Columbia Records (Kirker). In addition, “Davis’s moody interpretation would stand as the definitive version, even more than Monk’s own, of this classic jazz ballad.” This established Davis as “one of the most original ballad players in the history of jazz” (Gioia 268). I found it very as I was reading about this performance that Miles was actually surprised by the intensely positive reaction to his rendition of Monk’s song (Gioia). Miles acted miffed by the response and felt that his playing had remained the same. I thought this response from Miles was very humble and revealed his single-minded focus on his craft. He was so focused that he was unaware of the remarkable leap forward in his

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