Celebrating Miles Davis on his Birthday

Miles Davis

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News & Notes pays tribute to jazz legend Miles Davis on what would have been his 79th birthday. Born the son of a dental surgeon, Davis grew up in East St. Louis and began taking trumpet lessons when he was 12. He went on to enjoy a music career lasting 50 years.

(Soundbite of "All Blues")

ED GORDON, host:

This song, "All Blues," is from one of the best-selling jazz records of all time, "Kind of Blue." The artist is the great Miles Davis.

(Soundbite of "All Blues")

GORDON: Miles was born on this day in 1926. When he made "Kind of Blue" in the late '50s, he was already a superstar in music, having led the way through the genres of hard bop and cool.

(Soundbite of "All Blues")

GORDON: As it turns out, Miles was just getting started. By the late '60s, Miles had changed directions yet again...

(Soundbite of Miles Davis selection)

GORDON: ...this time to a kind of electric, free-jazz, funk-rock sound.

(Soundbite of Miles Davis selection)

GORDON: This, from the album "In a Silent Way."

(Soundbite of Miles Davis selection)

GORDON: Nothing quite like it had ever been heard before, and again, much of the jazz world followed. By the end of his life in 1991, Miles Davis was widely acknowledged as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was affectionately called the Prince of Darkness by some, but the light from his horn will undoubtedly beam throughout the ages.

(Soundbite of Miles Davis selection)

GORDON: That does it for the program today. To listen to the show, visit npr.org. If you'd like to comment, call us at (202) 408-3330. NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium.

(Soundbite of Miles Davis selection)

GORDON: I'm Ed Gordon. This is NEWS & NOTES.

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