Miles Davis Photography

Miles Davis

Miles Davis is undeniably the most famous jazz musician, but as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his cultural impact knows no genre. The trumpeter, bandleader, and composer regularly rewrote the rules of bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion, while also rubbing off on plenty of rock, pop, and R&B musicians along the way.

Davis launched his career in the ’40s as part of the Charlie Parker Quintet. After a short break to address a heroin addiction, he began his solo recording career in earnest the following decade, breaking big with 1959’s masterpiece Kind of Blue. Other landmarks include the follow-up Sketches of Spain and 1970’s double album Bitches Brew.

The world may have lost the legendary “King of Cool” in 1991 at age 65, but this eventual Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s fingerprints are apparent on virtually everyone who’s ever picked up a trumpet. In 2008, Kind of Blue—already considered one of the most definitive and influential albums in jazz history—become the best-selling jazz album of all time.

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