Miles Davis was one of the best jazz musicians in the history of jazz. His full name is Miles Dewey Davis III and was born on May 26th, 1926 in Alton, Illinois. Unlike many other notorious musicians Miles grew up in wealth His father was a superb dental surgeon in East St. Louis. He began playing the trumpet in his early teens and immediately excelled. Davis played in a couple of local St. Louis groups and in his high school band. His high school music teacher advised him to play without vibrato. There are three types of vibrato for trumpet players: lip, diaphragm, and hand vibrato. To perform a lip vibrato a trumpeter must move his lips in a chewing motion while playing longer notes during a solo. Similarly, a diaphragm vibrato is executed by varying the air supply with the muscle below your lungs. Finally, the hand vibrato is carried out by moving the trumpet lightly in circles while holding long notes.
Due to his father’s wealthy occupation, Davis was sent to New York City in 1944 to advance his music at the Julliard School. Originally known as the Institute of Musical Art, Julliard was founded in 1905 by Dr. Frank Damrosch. Damrosch was convinced that American students should not have to go to Europe to further their musical education. However, as prestigious as Julliard was it did not attract Miles Davis. He soon found himself skipping out on school and participating in jam sessions. These were not just any jam sessions though. He found himself playing with the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Under these two, Davis learned as much as he needed to know. Parker and Davis recorded together fairly often from 1945-1948. Early on Davis’ playing was very timid, but he had a very unique musical imagination and tone that carried him.