The Life & Tribulations of Miles Davis - How He Influenced Jazz History
Miles Davis was a pioneer in the world of Jazz. He had a career that spanned five decades and is considered one of the most influential musicians in history. Born on May 25, 1926, Davis' life was full of achievements and contributions to jazz music until ultimately his death on September 28, 1991.
Miles Davis was a master with the trumpet and is recognized as one of the greatest musicians to ever live. He grew up in poverty, but he found an escape through music at just 17-years old. His family encouraged him to hone his craft even though they did not have much money for education or instruments. Miles Davis's legacy is defined by the adversary he overcame to achieve success, despite all odds.
There were many obstacles Miles Davis had to overcome in his life. One of the most notable was racism and Jim Crow laws at the time. Living under segregation and racism was a challenge for Miles Davis and he used this to fuel his passion. He said, "I had to prove myself over and over again just because of the color of my skin."
Living in poverty gave Miles Davis fewer options in life, but he was able to overcome this by being persistent and practicing harder than anyone else. Despite his limitations, he was able to travel the world and perform in front of millions. He never gave up on his passion, but instead harnessed it into a career that allowed him to make history.
Later in life, Miles Davis struggled with alcohol & drug abuse. This caused him to miss performances and his band was even forced to replace Miles Davis with another musician. He got clean in the late 1970s, but this battle almost ended his career forever.
Despite all of these challenges, Miles Davis continued forward on his journey as a master trumpet player.
Throughout his fifty-year career, Miles Davis achieved many accomplishments. It was in 1959 when Miles Davis released one of the most influential jazz albums to date - Kind of Blue. This album featured some of the best musicians in the industry at the time including John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. He played on more than fifty albums that sold millions of copies worldwide. He won several Grammy Awards and had a documentary made about his life called Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. All just awards, compared to the musical advancement he has contributed to music history.
With his constant pursuit of perfection, Miles Davis influenced jazz music in a way that will never be forgotten. He was able to take the sound of New Orleans and turn it into something deeper - he added many different elements that changed how people look at jazz forever. It is hard to imagine modern-day Jazz without thinking about the influence of Miles Davis on the industry.
What Miles Davis did differently than other musicians was he challenged the status quo. He never played by anyone's rules and instead made up his own as he went. His style changed constantly, but it always stayed true to jazz music. This constant change in sound is what set him apart from every musician before and after him.
Miles Davis will be missed, but his music and legacy live on. Jazz is alive and well because of musicians like him who continually push the boundaries to create new sounds for this genre. He has left a significant mark in history by being one of the most influential jazz artists ever, with a career spanning more than fifty years that includes collaborations with legends such as Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. His life may have been fraught with struggles, but he found success where many would not dare to dream it possible--in creating beautiful melodies from improvisation alone. In doing so, Davis established himself as one of America's greatest musical innovators whose efforts are still influencing modern-day luminaries in all genres today.
BONUS: Tips on how to become a better trumpeter
1. Practice every day to build muscle memory
2. Listen to trumpet players who are better than you and learn from their technique & try to imitate it - be inspired!
3. Get a good mouthpiece that fits your teeth - it will make playing easier
4. Practice with other trumpeters, but don't stop practicing on your own!
5. Take lessons from an experienced teacher if possible - and learn, learn, learn!
6. Find a mentor or friend who is also learning how to play the trumpet so you can practice together and motivate each other