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|Miles Dewey Davis III (May 25, 1926 – September 28, 1991) one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the twentieth century, was a black jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer.
Davis was at the forefront of almost every major development of jazz after the Second World War. He played on some of the important early bebop records, the first cool jazz records were recorded under his name, he was largely responsible for the development of modal jazz, and jazz fusion arose from Davis's bands of the late sixties and early seventies and the musicians who worked with him. Free jazz was the only postwar style hardly affected by Davis, although some musicians from his bands later pursued this style. His recordings, along with the live performances of his many influential bands, were vital in jazz's increased acceptance as music with lasting artistic value. A popularizer as well as an innovator, Davis became famous for both his languid, melodic style and his laconic and at times confrontational personality. As an increasingly well-paid and fashionably-dressed jazz musician, Davis was also a symbol of the music's commercial potential.
Davis was in a line of jazz trumpeters that started with Buddy Bolden and ran through Joe "King" Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, and Dizzy Gillespie. He has been compared to Duke Ellington as a musical innovator: both were skillful players on their instruments but were not considered technical virtuosos. Ellington's main strength was as a composer and leader of a large band, while Davis had a talent for drawing together talented musicians in small groups and allowing them space to develop. Many of the major figures in postwar jazz played in one of Davis's groups at some point in their career. Some authorities consider Davis to have been the first person really to understand the difference between live and recorded music, and this is reflected in the large amount of outstanding records he produced.
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