Davis, Miles (Dewey, III) [Prince of Darkness]
- Barry Kernfeld
[Prince of Darkness]
(b Alton, IL, May 25, 1926; d Santa Monica, CA, Sept 28, 1991). American jazz trumpeter and bandleader. An original, lyrical soloist and a demanding group leader, he was the most consistently innovatory musician in jazz from the late 1940s until the mid-1970s.
Davis grew up in East St Louis and took up the trumpet at the age of 13; two years later he was already playing professionally. He moved to New York in September 1944, ostensibly to enter the Institute of Musical Art but actually to locate his idol, Charlie Parker. He joined Parker in live appearances and recording sessions (1945–8), at the same time playing in other groups and touring in the big bands led by Benny Carter and Billy Eckstine. In 1948 he began to lead his own bop groups, and he participated in an experimental workshop centred on the arranger Gil Evans. Their collaborations with Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis and Johnny Carisi culminated in a series of nonet recordings for Capitol under Davis's name and later collected and reissued as ...