(KMOX) – He was once married to Cicely Tyson, he has a statue in his honor in Poland, and his father was a dentist who gave him a trumpet and lessons at 13.
Miles Dewey Davis born in Alton, Ill. on May 26, 1926. A year later, the family moved to East St. Louis.
By 16, he was playing professionally. During this time, the only thing that kept him leaving home and joining the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, who he played with as a teen in East St. Louis, was his mother. She made sure he finished his senior year at East St. Louis Lincoln High in 1944.
Following graduation, though, Davis moved to New York City to study at Julliard. He would drop out after asking permission from his father criticizing the school for its focus on classical European music.
Again, he began playing professionally at several 52nd Street clubs. Jam sessions with the likes of Thelonious Monk were frequent. His first recording as a sideman came in 1945, as a member of Herbie Fields’ group. He finally got the chance to record as a leader in 1946, with the Miles T Davis Sextet.
Davis spent some time on tour in Paris, where black jazz musicians were better respected than in the U.S.
He would return home feeling underappreciated as a leader in the cool jazz movement. His breakups and heroin would disrupt his life and his playing ability for four years, though amazingly he still recorded.
Home with his father in 1954, Miles Davis would lock himself in a room until he had gone through a painful withdrawal. Through 48 studio albums, 36 live albums, and 9 Grammys, Miles Davis continued to perform until his death in September of 1991.
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