Jazz music is one of the most widely listened to music in Africa. Jazz is a genre of music and its roots can be traced from African-American communities during the 19th and 20th century. Jazz is popular around the Unites States because of the existence of African-American bonds. This genre has branched out all over the world.
“Jazz is not just ‘Well, man, this is what I feel like playing.’ It’s a very structured thing that comes down from a tradition and requires a lot of thought and study.”
The popularity of jazz would not have been possible if not for some jazz artists who left a trademark in the music industry. There are hundreds of jazz artists in history and up to the present time. However, the following two performers were the most popular and the most influential ones.
Miles Davis (born as Miles Dewis Davis III) was a famous American jazz artist, composer, trumpeter and bandleader. He was tagged as one of the most prominent musicians of the 20th century because of his works and contribution to the popularity of jazz music.
Together with his musical groups, he further developed and experimented with jazz music including cool jazz, jazz fusion, bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz. Because of his contributions and compositions, he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last 2006.
His album “Kind of Blue” which was released last 1958 earned its fourth platinum record recognition in 2008 for selling at least 10 million copies in the United States alone.
In 1986, he was given an Honorary Doctorate by the New England Conservatory for his big contributions to the music industry. He has eight Grammys, three Hall of Fame awards, and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Where it Began
After highschool, Davis went to Juilliard School of Music in New York. In the city, he spent a lot of time trying to contact Charlie Parker, his long-time idol. After meeting Parker, he eventually became one of the staple performers for Minton’s Playhouse and Monroe’s. That time, people were not aware that Davis, together with his group, will be the future pioneers of bebop revolution. Performers included Freddie Webster, J.J Johnson, Kenny Clarke, Fats Navarro, and Thelonius Monk.
Because of his flourishing musical career, Davis decided to drop out from Juilliard saying that the school focused too much on classical European. He performed in several clubs as a professional musician and in 1945, he tried recording for the first time Herbie Field’s group as a sideman.
After, he was given a chance to record as a leader in 1946 and as the cliché goes, the rest is history.
The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll described Miles as someone who “played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-’40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music”.