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 in Alton, Illinois , and raised in East St. Louis , Davis left to study at the Juilliard School in New York City , before dropping out and making his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker 's bebop quintet from to
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Many of my top 10 lists are patently absurd in the sense of having to narrow down to 10 of something. The rhythm section swings hard yet elegantly, Coltrane and Cannonball burn in very different ways, and few composers have ever penned a melody as lyrical and coherent as the solo that Miles improvises here. Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams were only just beginning the exploration that would revolutionize aspects of jazz rhythm and interplay.
And Miles really opened up so many doors for me and introduced me to so many other incredible musicians. His use of space is inspirational: there are plenty of musicians who can play faster than Miles and play more notes, but he could say more with less, and sound more powerful. As a heavy metal guitarist playing fast is part of what you do, but Miles certainly had an impact on me in terms of trying to say more with less.
Between his first recording session in and his death in , Miles Davis changed the course of music many times. The first of these came with the short-lived lineups he assembled for a New York residency and three studio sessions between January and March The nine-piece lineup was unusual — few jazz bands used a French horn — and the gigs attracted little attention. The punchy, brightly coloured Venus de Milo was one of three tracks the group recorded that was composed by saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Rather, this is what you got when you tuned down the frenzy of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and allied it to the kind of sophisticated big-band arrangements Duke Ellington pioneered.