Miles Davis (jazz trumpeter, bandleader, songwriter)

~ Person

Also performs as: Cleo Henry


Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in a five-decade career that kept him at the forefront of many major stylistic developments in jazz.

Born and raised in Illinois, Davis left his studies at the Juilliard School in New York City and made his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's bebop quintet from 1944 to 1948. Shortly after, he recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol Records, which were instrumental to the development of cool jazz. In the early 1950s, Miles Davis recorded some of the earliest hard bop music while on Prestige Records but did so haphazardly due to a heroin addiction. After a widely acclaimed comeback performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records and recorded the 1957 album 'Round About Midnight. It was his first work with saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Paul Chambers, key members of the sextet he led into the early 1960s. During this period, he alternated between orchestral jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, such as the Spanish-influenced Sketches of Spain (1960), and band recordings, such as Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959). The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time, having sold over four million copies in the U.S.

Davis made several line-up changes while recording Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), his 1961 Blackhawk concerts, and Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), another mainstream success that introduced bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, and drummer Tony Williams. After adding saxophonist Wayne Shorter to his new quintet in 1964, Davis led them on a series of more abstract recordings often composed by the band members, helping pioneer the post-bop genre with albums such as E.S.P (1965) and Miles Smiles (1967), before transitioning into his electric period. During the 1970s, he experimented with rock, funk, African rhythms, emerging electronic music technology, and an ever-changing line-up of musicians, including keyboardist Joe Zawinul, drummer Al Foster, and guitarist John McLaughlin. This period, beginning with Davis' 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career, alienating and challenging many in jazz. His million-selling 1970 record Bitches Brew helped spark a resurgence in the genre's commercial popularity with jazz fusion as the decade progressed.

After a five-year retirement due to poor health, Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop sounds on albums such as The Man with the Horn (1981) and Tutu (1986). Critics were generally unreceptive but the decade garnered the trumpeter his highest level of commercial recognition. He performed sold-out concerts worldwide while branching out into visual arts, film, and television work, before his death in 1991 from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure. In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz." Rolling Stone described him as "the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century," while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1951 The New Sounds Miles Davis 1
1952 Young Man with a Horn Miles Davis 2
1953 Blue Period Miles Davis 1
1953 The Compositions of Al Cohn Miles Davis 1
1954 Miles Davis Quartet Miles Davis 3
1955 Blue Moods Miles Davis 5
1955 Miles Davis and Milt Jackson Quintet/Sextet Miles Davis 8
1956 Collectors’ Items Miles Davis 3 4
1956 Dig Miles Davis featuring Sonny Rollins 3 9
1956 Miles Davis and Horns Miles Davis 6
1957 ’Round About Midnight Miles Davis 4.5 13
1957 Bags’ Groove Miles Davis 4.65 12
1957 Miles Ahead Miles Davis 3 15
1958 Blue Haze Miles Davis 4 6
1958 Jazz Track Miles Davis 3
1958 Milestones Miles Davis 3 16
1958 Porgy and Bess Miles Davis 4 14
1959 Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants Miles Davis 8
1959 Kind of Blue Miles Davis 4.5 44
1960 Sketches of Spain Miles Davis 3.6 31
1963 Quiet Nights Miles Davis 3 9
1963 Seven Steps to Heaven Miles Davis 7
1965 E.S.P. Miles Davis 5 8
1967 Sorcerer Miles Davis 4 10
1968 Miles in the Sky Miles Davis 3 8
1968 Nefertiti Miles Davis 4 11
1969 Filles de Kilimanjaro Miles Davis 5 9
1969 In a Silent Way Miles Davis 5 14
1970 Bitches Brew Miles Davis 4.9 29
1972 On the Corner Miles Davis 4.65 11
1974 Big Fun Miles Davis 4 5
1974 Get Up With It Miles Davis 4 5
1976 Water Babies Miles Davis 3 3
1981 The Man with the Horn Miles Davis 6
1983 Star People Miles Davis 3
1984 Decoy Miles Davis 4 5
1985 You’re Under Arrest Miles Davis 8
1986 Tutu Miles Davis 3.5 9
1988 Moon Dreams Miles Davis 1
1989 Amandla Miles Davis 3 8
1989 Aura Miles Davis 1
1989 The Real Birth of the Cool Miles Davis 1
1990 Nonet 1948 / Jam 1949 Miles Davis 1
1990 Someday My Prince Will Come Miles Davis 3 1
1992 Doo-Bop Miles Davis 4 4
1993 Autumn Leaves Miles Davis 1
1994 What I Say? Volume 1 Miles Davis Featuring Keith Jarrett 1
1996 Members Edition Miles Davis 1
1997 Bye Bye Blackbird Miles Davis 1
1998 Miles Davis Live Miles Davis 1
2000 Blue Miles Miles Davis 1
2000 The Miles Davis Collection - Volume One Miles Davis 1
2000 Too Cool Miles Davis 1
2001 Conception Miles Davis 1
2001 Early Miles Miles Davis 1
2001 Miles Davis Miles Davis 1
2001 The Trumpet Player Miles Davis 1
2003 Birth of a Leader Miles Davis 1
2003 Four Miles Davis 1
2003 Mile Stone Miles Davis 1
2007 Non Stop Music Miles Davis 1
2009 Miles Davis Quartet Miles Davis 1
2009 Somethin' Else / Selections from '1958 Miles' Miles Davis 1
2016 Everything’s Beautiful Miles Davis & Robert Glasper 4
2016 5 Original Albums Miles Davis 1
Bluing Miles Davis 1
Conceptions Miles Davis 1
E.S.P. Miles Davis 1
Gemini Miles Davis 1
Grandes Maestros del Jazz Miles Davis 1
Miles Davis Miles Davis 1
Miles Davis with Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk Miles Davis 1
Miles Davis with John Coltrane Miles Davis with John Coltrane 1
Trumpet Man Miles Davis 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1952 Dizzy Gillespie and Modern Trumpets Dizzy Gillespie And Modern Trumpets, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Howard McGhee 1
1953 Miles Davis, Volume 1 Miles Davis 4
1954 Miles Davis, Volume 3 Miles Davis 1
1956 Conception Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Sonny Rollins & Zoot Sims 2
1956 Miles Davis, Volume 2 Miles Davis 5
1957 Birth of the Cool Miles Davis 4 14
1965 Plays for Lovers Miles Davis 2
1966 Mode Study Miles Davis 1
1969 Miles Davis’ Greatest Hits Miles Davis 4
1972 Tallest Trees Miles Davis 1
1973 Basic Miles: The Classic Performances of Miles Davis Miles Davis 1
1973 The Essential MIles Davis Miles Davis 1
1975 Bird & Miles Charlie Parker & Miles Davis 1
1975 Dig Miles Davis 1
1979 1958 MILES Miles Davis 9
1979 Circle in the Round Miles Davis 3
1981 Directions: Unreleased Recordings 1960-1970 Miles Davis 3.5 3
1986 1 hour with Miles Davis Miles Davis 1
1987 Chronicle: The Complete Prestige Recordings (1951-1956) Miles Davis 1
1988 Bopping the Blues Miles Davis 1
1988 Ballads Miles Davis 2
1988 Evolution of a Genius: Miles Davis 1945 - 1954 Miles Davis 3
1988 Green Haze Miles Davis 1
1988 Miles & Coltrane Miles Davis & John Coltrane 3
1988 Old Devil Moon Miles Davis 1
1988 The Columbia Years 1955–1985 Miles Davis 2

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