Miles Davis was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. He was famous around the 20th Century as he contributed a lot to this Century.
As a musician, he had a very cool attitude while performing his acts. He would put on sunglasses, even in the dark and perform.
Also, his fans would be impressed and feel grateful just to be part of his shows, even though for a few minutes.
Miles is still taken as one of the most genuine musicians and innovators of different Jazz forms. He has influenced almost every artist that has emerged to create something impactful.
Here, you can find the top 10 most interesting facts about this influential trumpeter.
10. Miles Davis was born to a dental surgeon and a music teacher
Miles Davis was originally born as Miles Dewey Davis III on the 26th of May, 1926, in Alton, Illinois. He was nicknamed the Prince of Darkness later during his music career.
He was born to Miles Dewey Davis, Jr. and Cleota Mae Davis. His father was a dental surgeon holding three college degrees, and Cleota, his mother, was a violinist and a music teacher.
They had an average life, and his mother wanted him to go to Fisk University to learn violin or piano. However, Miles had an interest in something different and unique.
Miles had two siblings, and one was his older sister – Dorothy, and the other was his younger brother – Vernon. Dorothy went to Fisk University to learn piano and violin.
9. An adventurous childhood
Miles grew up in a middle-class family where everybody supported each other. His family owned a large farm of about 200-acre. It was located near Pine Bluff in Arkansas.
His grandparents owned the farm. They had a very profitable pig farm. Along with his brother and sister, Davis would fish, hunt, and ride horses while on the farm.
They would spend time involved in such adventures during their summer breaks. However, it all stopped when his family moved to East St. Louis in Illinois.
8. Miles was introduced to music after being gifted a Trumpet
Miles Davis was inclined to music since his early years. However, he had not had a chance to own an instrument of his own until 13.
Miles was given a trumpet by his father when he was 13 years old. His father also put him into private lessons with a local musician named Elwood Buchanan.
However, Miles’s mother was quite unhappy about it as she had wanted Miles to learn piano or violin.
Miles continued playing the trumpet despite his mother’s unwillingness. He got a chance to join the Eddie Randall band at the age of 15 in 1941. He then got a scholarship in a famous school of music, Juilliard School, in 1944.
7. Marital Status of Miles Davis was not stable
Miles started playing professionally from the age of 17. His music career flourished and was stable.
However, his marital status was not as stable as his musical career. He was married thrice.
He was married to Frances Taylor Davis in the year 1958, but it did not last long. They separated in the year 1968. Frances was a dancer, actress, a choreographer.
Miles then got married to Bette Davis in 1968, but their marriage could not last for long. They got separated in 1969. Bette Davis’s real name was Ruth Elizabetha, and she too was an actress.
In the year 1981, he got married to Cicely Tyson. She was an American actress and a fashion model. Their marriage lasted until 1988.
6. Miles was awarded numerous awards during his lifetime
Miles, one of the greatest musicians of the 20th Century, contributed immensely to music. He innovated various forms of jazz and influenced the upcoming artists.
He was also acknowledged by other musicians due to his talent and was inducted into a well-respected category, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 2006.
He was also listed in the Acclaimed Music lists as the 16th most acclaimed recording artist in history.
Apart from these titles, he won numerous renowned awards, including Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000, 20001, 2014; Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990; Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 1971, 1990, 1994; American Book Award in 1990; AACTA Award for Best Original Score in 1991, and many more.
5. On and Off musical relation with Charlie Parker
Miles first met Charlie Parker when he came to Newyork to pursue his studies in the music field. He got a chance to play the trumpet with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie when their trumpet player and Buddy Anderson were sick.
Since then, they started jamming together in numerous places. Mostly they were jamming in the clubs like Monroe’s and Minton’s Playhouse.
When Dizzy left Parker’s band, Parker took Miles as Dizzy’s replacement. Now, Parker’s band had five members: Al Haid – Pianist, Max Roach – Drummer, Curly Russell – bass player, Charlie Parker – Saxophonist, and Miles Davis – Trumpeter.
Davis began recording songs after joining the band. He also recorded his solos, and one of the most famous ones was titled ‘Now’s the Time.’
Davis and Charlie built up a very strong relationship during their time in the band. They jammed together, made music together; however, they argued in the year 1948. Miles then left the band.
4. Miles Davis, too, was addicted to Heroin
Miles had an amazing career in music. However, in the year 1949, when he returned from Paris, he seemed to get a very less amount of work.
He was being offered guest spots and very short engagements. This led to him falling short on his hotel rents and other financial issues.
Miles could not cope up with the ongoing situation and was depressed. This got him involved in heroin, and shortly he was addicted to it.
Fortunately, his heroin addiction did not last for long. He was able to come out of it in 1954. In one of his interviews of 1964, he stated that – ‘ you can get tired of anything, even of being scared.’
3. A very successful music career
Miles Davis was one of the best musicians of his time. He had a different way of playing the trumpet, which would never dissatisfy his fans.
He had numerous hits during his music career. He worked with famous musicians, including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter.
Apart from working with well-known artists of his time, he released numerous hit songs and albums. His album titled ‘ Kind of Blue’, released in 1959 was one of the most famous albums.
Kind of Blue managed to sell over 4 million copies in the year 2008. Other famous albums include Tutu, Bitches Brew and Sketches of Spain. His first album was Cool Boppin, and the last was Doo-Bop.
2. Miles Davis, also known as the father of Cool Jazz
Miles Davis invented and contributed highly to Jazz, including hard bop, free jazz, cool jazz, and fusion.
Miles and Gil Evans worked together to create a new form of music that would sound similar to human sound but was made from interesting compositions.
This venture led to the production of a very special album titled ‘Birth of the Cool’ in 1949. The songs in this album brought into the light a new form of Jazz, famously known as Cool Jazz.
Miles and Gil Evans met and started working together from the year 1948. They made music working together with various other artists, including Roach, Gerry Mulligan, and John Lewis.
1. Death of the greatest Trumpeter was a tragic
Miles David was suffering from Bronchial Pneumonia leading to an intracerebral haemorrhage and a coma. He died on the 28th of September, 1991.
A special funeral service was done on the 5th of Oct, 1991, where about 500 close friends, family members, musicians, and fans attended it. He was buried with one of his trumpets.
Miles Davis, an influential trumpeter, never failed to produce a masterpiece during his music career. He was keen on producing music that would make an impact in and about time.