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Fazil Noses
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Styles Davis - No Time |WORK|


Just a year later, Davis was invited to sit in when the Billy Eckstine Big Band played St. Louis. In that setting, Davis was able to play with two of his idols, bebop pioneers saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. The Eckstine experience left Davis determined to make his mark in the band's home base, New York City. Fate intervened when Davis was accepted at New York's Julliard School of Music. Davis moved to New York, but never really made it to the classroom, spending his time instead on 52nd Street listening to Diz and Bird.




Styles Davis - No Time


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Charlie Parker's speed and technique were beyond Davis' reach at the time, but the young trumpeter still jumped at an offer to replace Dizzy Gillespie in Parker's band. For Davis, it was both a dream come true and a nightmare of technical challenges. When Davis first recorded with Parker in 1945, his playing was tentative compared with the hard-charging leader, and Davis often just filled in with harmonies behind Parker's powerful alto sax. But Davis' sense of time and space is a direct result of this apprenticeship. The sheer velocity of Parker's technique forced Davis to take a more measured, introspective tack.


Sonny Rollins was the first in a long line of stellar saxophone players whom Davis signed up. From his time with Charlie Parker, Davis had developed an affinity for the partnership of trumpet and saxophone. A few years later, Davis discovered the Harmon mute and the otherworldly quality it lent his tone. What soon became a Davis trademark made its first appearance on the song "Solar," recorded in 1954.


At the same time that he was expanding his sound, Davis took care to build his repertoire throughout the early 1950s. He was composing, but he was also applying his style to popular songs such as "Surrey With the Fringe on Top" and "My Funny Valentine," helping to make those tunes and others jazz standards. He often mixed young lions with bebop veterans during loose, improvised recording sessions.


Jones was well-respected in jazz but essentially unknown to the public. The same was true of the young Coltrane, who had played with Gillespie's Big Band but was not an established name. In fact, many critics disliked Coltrane's playing at the time.


Once again, Davis relied on his instinct for finding the most talented musicians available. He found a rhythm section of pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams and, with George Coleman on tenor for a time, the new quintet began to explore the outer reaches of harmony and rhythm.


Born in Alton, Illinois, and raised in East St. Louis, Davis left to study at Juilliard 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, 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, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records, and recorded the album 'Round About Midnight in 1955.[2] 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 music-influenced Sketches of Spain (1960), and band recordings, such as Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959).[3] The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time,[4] having sold over five million copies in the U.S.


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.[9] In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,[10] which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz".[10] 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,"[9] while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.[11]


In 1935, Davis received his first trumpet as a gift from John Eubanks, a friend of his father.[17] He took lessons from "the biggest influence on my life," Elwood Buchanan, a teacher and musician who was a patient of his father.[12][18] His mother wanted him to play the violin instead.[19] Against the fashion of the time, Buchanan stressed the importance of playing without vibrato and encouraged him to use a clear, mid-range tone. Davis said that whenever he started playing with heavy vibrato, Buchanan slapped his knuckles.[19][12][20] In later years Davis said, "I prefer a round sound with no attitude in it, like a round voice with not too much tremolo and not too much bass. Just right in the middle. If I can't get that sound I can't play anything."[21] The family soon moved to 1701 Kansas Avenue in East St. Louis.[16]


Much of Davis's time was spent in clubs seeking his idol, Charlie Parker. According to Davis, Coleman Hawkins told him "finish your studies at Juilliard and forget Bird [Parker]".[32][28] After finding Parker, he joined a cadre of regulars at Minton's and Monroe's in Harlem who held jam sessions every night. The other regulars included J. J. Johnson, Kenny Clarke, Thelonious Monk, Fats Navarro, and Freddie Webster. Davis reunited with Cawthon and their daughter when they moved to New York City. Parker became a roommate.[28][25] Around this time Davis was paid an allowance of $40 (equivalent to $620 in 2021[33]).[34]


In mid-1945, Davis failed to register for the year's autumn term at Juilliard and dropped out after three semesters[14][35][25] because he wanted to perform full-time.[36] Years later he criticized Juilliard for concentrating too much on classical European and "white" repertoire, but he praised the school for teaching him music theory and improving his trumpet technique.


Davis began performing at clubs on 52nd Street with Coleman Hawkins and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. He recorded for the first time on April 24, 1945, when he entered the studio as a sideman for Herbie Fields's band.[25][28] During the next year, he recorded as a leader for the first time with the Miles Davis Sextet plus Earl Coleman and Ann Baker, one of the few times he accompanied a singer.[37]


In 1945, Davis replaced Dizzy Gillespie in Charlie Parker's quintet. On November 26, he participated in several recording sessions as part of Parker's group Reboppers that also involved Gillespie and Max Roach,[25] displaying hints of the style he would become known for. On Parker's tune "Now's the Time", Davis played a solo that anticipated cool jazz. He next joined a big band led by Benny Carter, performing in St. Louis and remaining with the band in California. He again played with Parker and Gillespie.[38] In Los Angeles, Parker had a nervous breakdown that put him in the hospital for several months.[38][39] In March 1946, Davis played in studio sessions with Parker and began a collaboration with bassist Charles Mingus that summer. Cawthon gave birth to Davis's second child, Gregory, in East St. Louis before reuniting with Davis in New York City the following year.[38] Davis noted that by this time, "I was still so much into the music that I was even ignoring Irene." He had also turned to alcohol and cocaine.[40]


In August 1948, Davis declined an offer to join Duke Ellington's orchestra as he had entered rehearsals with a nine-piece band featuring baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and arrangements by Gil Evans, taking an active role on what soon became his own project.[43][38] Evans' Manhattan apartment had become the meeting place for several young musicians and composers such as Davis, Roach, Lewis, and Mulligan who were unhappy with the increasingly virtuoso instrumental techniques that dominated bebop.[44] These gatherings led to the formation of the Miles Davis Nonet, which included atypical modern jazz instruments such as French horn and tuba, leading to a thickly textured, almost orchestral sound.[31] The intent was to imitate the human voice through carefully arranged compositions and a relaxed, melodic approach to improvisation. In September, the band completed their sole engagement as the opening band for Count Basie at the Royal Roost for two weeks. Davis had to persuade the venue's manager to write the sign "Miles Davis Nonet. Arrangements by Gil Evans, John Lewis and Gerry Mulligan". Davis returned to Parker's quintet, but relationships within the quintet were growing tense mainly due to Parker's erratic behavior caused by his drug addiction.[38] Early in his time with Parker, Davis abstained from drugs, chose a vegetarian diet, and spoke of the benefits of water and juice.[45]


In December 1948, Davis quit,[38] saying he was not being paid. His departure began a period when he worked mainly as a freelancer and sideman. His nonet remained active until the end of 1949. After signing a contract with Capitol Records, they recorded sessions in January and April 1949, which sold little but influenced the "cool" or "west coast" style of jazz.[38] The line-up changed throughout the year and included tuba player Bill Barber, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, pianist Al Haig, trombone players Mike Zwerin with Kai Winding, French horn players Junior Collins with Sandy Siegelstein and Gunther Schuller, and bassists Al McKibbon and Joe Shulman. One track featured singer Kenny Hagood. The presence of white musicians in the group angered some black players, many of whom were unemployed at the time, yet Davis rebuffed their criticisms.[46] Recording sessions with the nonet for Capitol continued until April 1950. The Nonet recorded a dozen tracks which were released as singles and subsequently compiled on the 1957 album Birth of the Cool.[31] 041b061a72


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