Essays On Miles Davis Birth Of The Cool

Essay on Miles Davis and the Evolution of Jazz

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Who was Miles Davis and why was he such an important element in the music of Jazz? Miles Davis, as we would know him, was born Miles Dewey Davis in Alton, Illinois on the 25th of May 1926 to a middle-class black family.. A couple of years later, Miles went on to St. Louis where he grew up. Since he was a youngster, Miles' hobby was to collect records and play them over without getting tired of them. Since his family knew Miles was so interested in the music of his time, primarily Jazz, for his thirteenth birthday Miles received his first trumpet, although he had been playing since the age of nine. With this Miles began to practice and play his trumpet along with his records. Who would have known that just three years later, at the…show more content…

Then by 1949 was when the real business started. Miles went solo. With the tremendous amount of experience he accumulated, the recordings he had made, the people he knew, and with the 'hook-ups' Miles developed, he should not find any difficulty finding success in the evolution of Jazz. Before even hitting a year as a soloist, Miles Davis put out his first album as a soloist named Birth of the Cool. This was definitely something to be marked down on the timeline of Jazz. The album was accurately named, being responsible for the stardom of Cool Jazz, a movement that the very new to the Jazz movement, Miles Davis, invented within his first year of success. The Cool Jazz, which featured Gil Evans, first appeared in the latter days of 1949. A while after discovering Cool Jazz, Davis moved on to change his style into Hard Bop. During this period of his life, Miles suffered from heroine drug addiction and that was the cause for his irregular work schedule. It finally hit Miles that he must overcome his addiction if he wanted to continue to work as a musician. So Miles took all he had left and began a new life, drug-free. This was when his classic song "Walkin'" was released. 1955 is known to be Miles' 'breakthrough' year. The indication of his rising again in music was clearly stated at his performance in the Newport Jazz Festival. Davis continued to record and release and popularize himself in the next couple of years and this is

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History of Jazz(notes from Dick Wright's Introduction to Jazz class at the University of Kansas)

The Swing Era (1935-1945)

·       Bands are huge (17-18 pieces)
·       Three Types: Jazz, Dance, Corn
·       Ended because:
WWII draft, rationing, curfews
Cabaret Tax- on meat, records, and sugar products
Musicians Strike
Singers belonged to a diff union
Dissatisfaction of young players
·       Monroe’s and Minton’s were all-night clubs where players could experiment with Bebop

Charlie Barnet- Sax

Bunny Berigan- Trumpet

Cab Calloway- Singer

Dizzy Gillespie- Trumpet (TP)

Benny Carter- alto sax, trumpet

Jimmy Dorsey- Clarinet, alto sax

Tommy Dorsey- Trombone

Duke Ellington- piano, composer, arranger

Jimmy Blanton- Bass (TP)

Benny Goodman- clarinet

Charlie Christian- Guitar (TP)
Lionel Hampton- Vibes
Gene Krupa- Drums
Harry James- Trumpet

Lionel Hampton- Vibes

Fletcher Henderson- Piano, composer, arranger

Woody Herman- Clarinet, alto sax, blues singer

Earl “Fatha” Hines- Piano

Harry James- Trumpet

Andy Kirk (and His Clouds of Joy)- ?

Gene Krupa- Drums

Roy Eldridge- Trumpet (TP)
Anita O’Day- Singer

Jimmie Lunceford- Band leader (all black- rare)

Jay McShayan’s Band- KC

Charlie Parker- alto sax (TP)

Glenn Miller- Trombone, arranger “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”

Artie Shaw- Clarinet

Billie Holliday- Singer

Chick Webb- drummer @ the

Ella Fitzgerald- Singer

Art Tatum- Piano

Transitional Players from Swing to Bebop

Stan Kenton- piano, composer, arranger

Invented the melotron

Billy Eckstine- black singer

Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Sarah Vaughn- singer

Boyd Raeburn- saxes, double reeds

Dizzy- Music director

Gene Krupa- drums

Claude Thornhill- piano

Gil Evans- arranger

Woody Herman- clarinet, forms the “Four Brother’s Band”

Stan Getz- tenor sax
Zoot Simms- tenor sax
Serge Challof- Baritone Sax
Jimmy Giuffre- tenor sax, composer

Benny Goodman- clarinet

Tried Bebop for about 6 months

Dizzy Gillespie- Trumpet

He named the Bebop period

Bebop Period (1945-1950)

·       Smaller bands (about 7 pieces)
·       Solos are very important
·       expanded chords
·       stretched out harmonies
·       new melodies have large intervals
·       speedy solos
·       piano players “comping”- no more stride or boogie woogie
·       beat kept by bass and cymbals
·       fast tempo
·       horns play in unison
·       ballads are rare

Jerry Neuman- recorded the great players in Minton’s, and Monroe’s

Coleman Hawkins- makes 1st commercial bob record

Alto Sax- Charlie Parker

Drums- Max Roach, Art Blakey, Tiny Kahn

Bass- Curley Russel

Vibes- Milt Jackson

Tenor Sax- Sonny Stitt

Piano- Bud Powell, Al Hague, Thelonius Monk

Trumpet- Fats Navarro, Dizzy Gillespie, Red Rodney

Baritone Sax- Serge Challof

Trombone- J.J. Johnson

Clarinet- Buddy Defranco

Guitar- Jimmy Raney

Bass- Oscar Pettiford

Singers- Joe Carroll, Annie Ross, King Pleasure, Eddie Jefferson

Cool Period (1950-1954/1955)

·       arrangements are used
·       emphasis on ensemble playing and dynamics
·       West coast, primarily
·       bands are bigger (6-9 pieces)
·       Slower tempos than Bebop
·       Mostly white players

Miles Davis- Trumpet

1950- Records “Birth of the Cool”
Gerry Mulligan- baritone sax

Stan Getz- tenor sax

Gerry Mulligan- Baritone Sax, composer, arranger

Shorty Rogers-Trumpet, flugel horn, composer, arranger

Art Pepper- alto sax
Shelly Manne- drums
Hampton Hawes- piano

Chico Hamilton- Drummer--- “Chamber Jazz” with a cello player

Buddy Collette- Woodwind player, very versatile
Jim Hall- guitar

Jimmy Giuffre- tenor sax

Lenny Tristano- piano, blind

Lee Konite- alto sax
Warne Marsh- tenor sax

George Shearing- piano, blind

Marge Hyams- woman vibes player

Red Norvo- vibes

TalFarlow (the octopus)- guitar
Charles Mingus- Bass

Modern Jazz Quartet

Milt vibes
John Lewis- piano
Ray Brown- bass
Kenny Clarke- drums

Bobby Troup- singer

June Christy- singer

The Lighthouse- place at Vermosa beach where people would hang out to play

Bud Shank- flute, alto sax
Bob Cooper- tenor sax, oboe, and English horn

Funky/ Hard Bob Period (1954, 1955- ?)

·       Funky- blues with a Gospel tinge
·       Hard Bop- continuation of Bop period, but more emphasis on rhythm section
·       very strong backbeat (on 2 and 4)
·       16 Bar Blues, or 12 bars plus a bridge
·       Organ becomes widely used
·       Primarily a black East coast movement against the white, West Coast Cool period

Funky Players/ Bands:

The Jazz Messengers

Art Blakey- drums
Horace Silver- piano, composer

Les McCann- piano


Jazz Crusaders

“Cannonball” Adderly- alto sax

Successor to Charlie Parker (comes on scene same year he dies- 1955)

Jimmy Smith- organ

Richard “Groove” Holmes- organ, no bass player

Ramsey Lewis- piano

Hampton Hawes- piano

George Benson- guitar- sells out to popular music

Hard BopPlayers/ Bands:

Jazz Messengers

Max Roach- drums

Clifford Brown- trumpet

Sonny Rollins- tenor sax

John Coltrane- tenor sax

Miles Davis Quintet

John Coltrane- tenor sax
One of the best ever small groups
Greatest group of Hard Bop period

Jazz is...

...what I consider to be one of the best and most intellectual forms of music that have been created to date.  Classical music (especially both the Baroque and Classical genre) are others of high praise.  However, I feel that there are enough "classic" music broadcasts on the net.  On the other hand, after looking around the net at various broadcasts (Shoutcast,, Radiomoi, etc), I had not been able to find a suitable "classic" jazz broadcast. 

"What do you mean by "classic" jazz?" you might ask.  Well, defining this genre of jazz is difficult, but I like to consider it what it is not: smooth, fusion, free, dixie, or swing.  I'm sure I left out a few classifications of jazz, but this process is a bit futile, since most "classic" jazz might exhibit a bit of one or more of the styles listed above anyway.  While I usually consider "classic" jazz to have been recorded between 1948 and 1970, there have been some contemporary artists recently record in the style of interest (Christian McBride, Diana Krall, Laverne Butler, and Tom Harrell to name a few).

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