Miles Davis

Miles Davis

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September 28, 1991 (Age 65) died

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May 26, 1926 Birthday

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Alton, Illinois, U.S. Birthplace

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Miles Davis was a jazz trumpeter, composer and band leader. One of jazz's most iconic musicians, Davis played a key role in every jazz innovation over his 50 year career from bebop through modal music to funk and fusion. As a band leader Miles Davis brought together some of the genre's most influential players, including Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Clifford Brown, Paul Chambers and John Coltrane. Although periodically sidelined by struggles with his health and addiction, Davis still produced an impressive body of work including his milestone albums "Birth of the Cool", "Kind of Blue" and "Bitches Brew". Miles Davis died in 1991 at the age of 65 from respiratory failure.


Miles Davis' nickname was the Prince of Darkness. He was the first jazz musician to be on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine (following the success of his album, "Bitches Brew.") Miles Davis won 8 Grammy Awards over his career and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1990.

Early Life

Miles Davis was born in 1926 in Alton, Illinois and grew up in East St. Louis. His father was a successful dentist and his mother was a music teacher. Davis received his first trumpet at age 9 and by age 13 was playing with local bands. Although tempted to leave high school to tour professionally, Davis' parents convinced him to graduate and then to study at Juilliard in New York City. In 1945 Davis left Juilliard to perform full-time and by the end of the year he had replaced Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker's Quintet.