Davis, Miles, 1926-1991

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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 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 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 the best-selling jazz album of all time, having sold over five million copies in the United States, and is frequently cited by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.

Davis made several lineup 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 often unreceptive but the decade garnered Davis 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.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn The Frederick and Rose Plaut Papers, 1907-1986 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
referencedIn United States Sanitary Commission records. Army and Navy Claim Agency archives, 1861-1870 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn [Collection of jazz contracts, 1949-1957]. Harvard University, Loeb Music Library
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. Don't blame me [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. You came along from out of nowhere [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Hagedorn, Jessica Tarahata, 1949-. Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn photograph collection [graphic]. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. I've always got the blues [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Baby won't you make up your mind [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Alex Haley papers, 1967-1990 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Bobby Davis Photograph Collection PH 065., 1980-1983 Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. I've always got the blues [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Tutu / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Nicolas Slonimsky Collection, 1873-1997, (bulk 1920-1990) Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Embraceable you [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Edward Beach Collection, 1940-1975, (bulk 1950-1975) Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. So what / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. NCSA Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Nokes, Mark. Mark Nokes, guitar, senior recital [sound recording] : Monday, November 28, 2005, 7:00 pm, Recital Hall. University of Central Oklahoma, Chambers Library
creatorOf DAVIS, MILES. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. My old flame [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Straight no chaser [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Loewinsohn, Ron. For Miles Davis : typescript, [196-] / Ron Loewinsohn. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. So what [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Baby won't you make up your mind [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Bye bye blacckbird [Multimédia multisupport] ; No blues ; What is this thing called love... [etc.] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. A night in Tunisia [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. UNCSA Jazz Ensemble [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Davis, Miles. Printed and typewritten document signed, dated : New York, 20 September 1974, 1974 Sept. 20. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Loehrs, Dustin. Senior recital [sound recording] : University of Central Oklahoma/School of Music, Jazz Lab, Sunday April 29, 2007, 3:00 PM / Dustin Loehrs, trumpet. University of Central Oklahoma, Chambers Library
referencedIn Mingus, Charles, 1922-1979. Charles Mingus collection, 1939-1979. Library of Congress
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Embraceable you [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles. Lead sheets : unpublished copyright deposits, 1963-1977 / Miles Davis. Library of Congress
referencedIn Duke Ellington recordings collection Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Neat Stuff Collectables. Jazz Playbill Collection, 1923-1952. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives
creatorOf Satrio, Ponco. Graduate recital [sound recording] : University of Central Oklahoma/School of Music, Recital Hall, Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 7:30 PM / Ponco Satrio, guitar. University of Central Oklahoma, Chambers Library
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. Bird of paradise [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Portia [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Don't sing me the Blues [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles. Blue in Green. HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. Don't blame me [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. Scrapple from the apple [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Don't explain to me baby [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Straight no chaser [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Bye bye blacckbird [Multimédia multisupport] ; No blues ; What is this thing called love... [etc.] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. Bird of paradise [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Collection of jazz contracts: Guide, 1949-1957 Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library, HarvardUniversity
creatorOf Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955. You came along from out of nowhere [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Don't explain to me baby [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp... [et al.]. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Charles Mingus Collection, 1939-1979 Library of Congress. Music Division
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Tutu [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Portia / Miles Davis, trp. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Teo Macero collection, 1949-1992, 1958-1975 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. UNCSA Jazz Ensemble [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. North Carolina School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
referencedIn Miles Davis collection, [ca. 1990-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
creatorOf Davis, Miles, 1926-1991. Don't sing me the Blues [Multimédia multisupport] / Miles Davis, trp. ; Charlie Parker, saxo t. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Beach, Ed person
associatedWith Davis, Bobby person
associatedWith Dodge, Joseph Jeffers person
associatedWith Evans, Bill, 1929-1980. person
associatedWith Frederick and Rose Plaut person
associatedWith Hagedorn, Jessica Tarahata, 1949- person
associatedWith Haley, Alex person
associatedWith Johnson, J. J., 1924-2001. person
associatedWith Loehrs, Dustin. person
associatedWith Loewinsohn, Ron. person
associatedWith Macero, Teo, 1925-2008 person
associatedWith Mingus, Charles, 1922-1979 person
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith Nokes, Mark. person
associatedWith Padell, Bert. person
associatedWith Plaut, Frederick, 1907-1985. person
associatedWith Reshen, Neil C. person
associatedWith Satrio, Ponco. person
associatedWith Slonimsky, Nicolas, 1894-1995 person
associatedWith UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Sanitary Commission corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Jazz
Jazz--1961-1970--Lead sheets
Jazz--1971-1980--Lead sheets
Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
Music--Manuscripts
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1926-05-26

Death 1991-09-28

Active 1963

Active 1977

Americans

Information

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Ark ID: w6jb6wxc

SNAC ID: 84610811