A jazz players music on his or her instrument is referred to as an extension of their voice. Great jazz players can play a wide variety of sounds on their instruments, bringing out a wide variety of strong emotions.Jazz’s birth and evolution was through the black experience in America. The birth place of jazz was in New Orleans about 100 years ago. The origins of jazz can be traced to the musical societies of Africa and Europe.

Africa gave jazz its beat and texture, the blues quality, and the custom of playing an instrument in your own way. Europe gave jazz its harmony and most instruments used in jazz come from Europe like the saxophone, trumpet, and piano. New Orleans was a great city to blend these cultures together because different ships all around docked in this city.Miles Davis was a popular African American jazz musician born in the 1920s. He started taking private music lessons at 10 years old with his father’s drinking buddy, Mr. Buchanan. Miles Davis was one of the most famous jazz musicians. Davis rose to fame in the 1940s as a member of Charlie Parker’s band.

Years later the musician formed his own band. He introduced audiences around the world to jazz, be-bop, modal playing, free-form explorations, and the use of electronics. During his career, Davis also incorporated into his music some elements of pop, rock, classical, and flamenco. Some of his most praised works include “Kind of Blue”, “Bitches Brew”, “Miles Ahead”, “Miles Smiles”, “Birth of the Cool”, and “In a Silent Way”. The Grammy Award-winning musician died of pneumonia, respiratory failure, and a stroke at the age of 65 (Davis and Troupe). Miles Davis achieved fame as a jazz musician and a cultural icon in the 1950s and 1960s – the era of the civil rights movement (Early 154).

8 years after Davis passed away Columbia Records released “The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis with John Coltrane”.Saxophonist John Coltrane was an important modern jazz musician, he was born September 23, 1926, in Hamlet, North Carolina. Before Coltrane recorded his first album he was employed to Miles Davis in 1955 and rose to fame as a member of Davis’s group.

However, Coltrane’s substance-abuse problems led Davis to fire him. His first album, Coltrane, and his second, Blue Train, were recorded in 1957. In 1958, Coltrane rejoined Davis and recorded two landmark albums, Milestones and Kind of Blue.

  Coltrane died of liver cancer in 1967 at the age of forty. He affirmed jazz’s stature as high art and inspired fellow musicians and listeners with his spirituality. (Myers 2014)  Another great jazz player was William Evans, who was born on August 16, 1929 in Plainfield, New Jersey. He was an American jazz pianist, composer, and helped in the development of modern jazz. Evans is noted for his harmonic creations in the context of jazz piano. Evens recorded more than fifty albums and received five Grammy Awards.

(Conklin 2016)


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