Miles Davis

Miles Davis
Los Angeles Times


Miles Davis
Music: South side of the 7000 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Jazz Musician
Born Miles Dewey Davis III on May 26, 1926 in Alton, Ill.
Died Sept. 28, 1991 of pneumonia and stroke in St. John's Hospital, CA

Trumpeter Miles Davis was credited by many critics with broadening the appeal of modern jazz more than any other performer of his era. He was called both jazz's only true superstar, for his wide appeal that cut across socioeconomic barriers, and the "Prince of Darkness," for the distant elegance that was his persona.

Aesthetically he was a trendsetter who crossed over from the freneticism of bebop to the era of "cool" jazz to the realm of fusion and rock 'n' roll. And unlike most of his peers, his recordings remained in catalogues decades after they were issued — testimony to his ongoing popularity.

He sat in with the bands of Benny Carter and Billy Eckstine and made his first records with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. From his association with Hawkins, Davis developed a taste for expensive clothes that in later years evolved into polka-dot smoking jackets, plaid pants and oversized sunglasses positioned under a head of hair most male lions would have envied.

What matters most about Miles Davis is that, in the course of a career that lasted almost a half-century, he was responsible for at least five revolutions in the concept and performance of jazz. This made him arguably the most influential figure in this art form since Duke Ellington.

Burt A. Folkart and Leonard Feather in the Los Angeles Times

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