When it comes to Jazz, there is probably no other person that did more to popularize the genre than the late multiple Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and composer, Miles Davis, who enjoyed a career that lasted for five decades and produced music that transcended generations.
The 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, who post-humously had his Kind of Blue (1959) album, which is the best-selling jazz album of all time, voted as a national treasure by the United States House of Representatives, was also an outspoken social critic. Read on to find out more about his early beginnings, love life, and earnings.
Miles Davis was born Miles Dewey Davis III on the 26th of May, 1926 in Alton, Illinois to Cleota Mae Henry and Miles Dewey Davis Jr. The Davis family was well to do as they owned a 200-acre estate in Arkansas with a profitable pig farm. His father further worked as a dentist while his mother was a music teacher and violinist.
Davis attended John Robinson Elementary School before joining Crispus Attucks. For his high school education, he attended East St. Louis Lincoln High School. It was during this time that Davis began to get heavily involved with music as he had learned how to play the trumpet while growing up. Davis joined his school’s marching band and performed in a number of music competitions which he won as his popularity grew.
Davis went on to enroll at the Institute of Musical Arts, what is today known as the Juilliard School, in New York. He, however, only spent three semesters in school before deciding to drop out in order to fully focus on making music. He first began performing at a number of New York bars and nightclubs before getting to perform as a part of saxophonist Charlie Parker’s bebop quintet in 1944 as the rest became history.
The estate of the late Miles Davis is said to be worth $10 million. The trumpeter, who also worked as a songwriter, film score composer, and actor, made most of his money from shows and record deals. In recent time, his estate which is controlled by his children and nephew has overseen the production of a biopic and have control over his publishing rights which continues to yield returns today.
Death: How Did Miles Davis Die?
Miles Davis died on the 28th of September 1991 in St. John’s Hospital after having spent a few days on life support. Davis had checked into the hospital for routine tests after he had been suffering from repeated bouts of bronchial pneumonia. It was further reported that he was at the time taking antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS. During his consultation with doctors, Davis was said to have suffered intracerebral hemorrhage that led to the coma and subsequent death.
His funeral was held at St. Peter’s Church in New York City on the 5th of October, 1991 before he was laid to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx, New York.
Miles Davis Family – Wife, Children
Miles Davis was married three times but still died a single man because he was not able to control his demons. The legendary musician was first married to Frances Taylor, a dancer turned actress who he had met in Los Angeles. The pair began officially dating in 1958 before going to exchange vows on the 21st of December, 1960. Everything seemed rosy in the beginning until Davis began physically abusing her after he had increased his intake of alcohol and cocaine which he said was the only thing that could reduce joint pain he suffered due to his sickle cell anemia.
Despite the horrors Taylor was said to have been facing, she was said to have always come back to her husband after running away following each time he hit her until one occasion in 1965 when she left for good. Their divorce was later finalized in 1968. In the same year Davis divorced his first wife, he married his second one, Betty Mabry, a then 23-year-old model and songwriter who went on to become a renowned singer that is today regarded as one of the most influential voices of the funk era.
The marriage began in September 1968 and ended almost soon after following allegations of infidelity by Davis against her. Davis has accused his new wife of having an affair with American rock music guitarist Jimi Hendrix who she had introduced him to. Mabry denied the accusations but that did not stop Davis from filing for divorce in 1969.
Following the end of his second marriage, Davis started a relationship with actress Cicely Tyson who he credited for helping him battle his alcohol consumption. The pair later broke up but later rekindled their romance in 1979. During this time, she again helped him battle cocaine addiction as she urged him to get back to creating music. After two years of dating, Ms. Tyson accepted to become Davis’ third wife. The couple went on to have a somewhat extravagant wedding which was officiated by politician and civil rights activist Andrew Young at Bill Cosby‘s Massachusetts home. Davis and Tyson shared a home in Malibu, California, until their divorce in 1988.
Miles Davis is reported to have had a total of four children; daughter Cheryl and sons Gregory, Miles IV, and Erin. Cheryl, Gregory, and Miles Davis IV, who was later known as Muhammad Abdullah, was born to Davis and his high school sweetheart, Irene Cawthon Davis-Oliver while Erin is from his relationship with Marguerite Cantu.