Miles Dewey Davis III was a famous American jazz musician. He was born on May 26, 1926 to a wealthy African American family in Alton, Illinois. His father was a dentist who also owned a ranch in Arkansas. Davis developed an appreciation for music at an early age after listening to gospel music at his local church. His mother wanted him to learn to play the piano as she herself was a talented musician. His father enrolled him for trumpet lessons with a local musician named Elwood Buchanan who taught Davis to play the trumpet without vibrato, which was against the musical norms of the time. He was influenced by the music of the American trumpeter Clark Terry.
Davis began gaining a reputation as a talented musician from a very young age. He was a member of the music society at school and also began to play at clubs such as the local Elks Club. He briefly joined a band named the “Blue Devils” and also performed alongside acclaimed jazz musicians Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He graduated from high school in 1944 after which he moved to New York to study at the Julliard School of Music. Once there, he reestablished contact with Charlie Parker, and became one of his posse, which also included other famous musicians such as Fats Navarro, Freddie Webster, J. J. Johnson, Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke.
Davis then dropped out of Julliard because he felt he was not being fulfilled musically. He did acknowledge its role in improving his trumpeting skills and providing a valuable education in musical theory. After leaving Julliard, he began playing small time gigs professionally such as with Coleman Hawkins and Eddie Davis. In 1945, he became a member of Herbie Fields’s group and began recording with them. He then became a trumpeter in Gillespie’s quintet and began touring with them. He also began composing with the Canadian composer Gil Evans which gave birth to a distinctive sound known as “Birth of the Cool”. He became heavily involved with drugs and became a heroin addict. His new group included