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Fashion Meets Music: Miles Davis

Miles Davis and trumpet

Every now and then Fashion Meets Music tackles an artist whose style and career are so influential that I have no idea where and how to begin. With a career that spanned over 40 years, several of the major developments in jazz, and influenced a slew of musicians who are legends in their own right, Miles Davis is definitely one artist who left me speechless so to speak.

Keeping cool even with a lion chilling in the corner

Keeping cool even with a lion chilling in the corner

Miles Davis played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-’40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style—in attitude and fashion—as well as music. -Rolling Stone

Miles Davis is widely considered one of the most innovative and influential musicians of the 20th Century. Not only was the award winning trumpeter, composer, and bandleader at the forefront of many of jazz’s major developments from bebop to fusion, he was also impossibly cool. I don’t mean cool in the modern sense where being cool means you’re up on pop culture and have the latest gizmos and gadgets, I mean cool as in his 1956 album The Birth of the Cool is still selling over 50 years later.

Sartorially speaking, Davis’s style evolved as his musical styles and tastes evolved. As innovative musician whose sound set, not followed, the tone, Davis’ style was also equally trendsetting. Pictures from early in the Juillard dropout’s career show a well suited Davis who could best be described as dapper. As the times and his music progressed, the dapper Davis became the epitome of 50s and 60s cool with the kind of wardrobe only seen today on Mad Men. In the late 60s his music and dress took a turn for the funky, when a young model named Betty Mabry (another FMM fave) introduced him to her pals Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone. During this electric period Miles Davis released his first gold record Bitches Brew, which I first heard in a music appreciation class in college, and adopted a look as funky as the record’s album cover.

Miles Davis keeping it extra fly

Miles Davis keeping it extra fly

At the end of the day, what is there to say about a man who continues to inspire musicians and music as a whole? Most legitimate musicians today can tell you hands down that if he didn’t influence them, he influenced the artists who in turn inspired them. He also helped to shape an art form that is uniquely American, jazz, which has touched everything from Hip-Hop to rock.

Peep Miles Davis’ sick style and educate yourselves on what music should be.

Miles doing MJ’s Human Nature and killing it.

Miles on 60 Minutes dispelling the myth that all black musicians find inspiration in having lived a hard knock life.

Layout by Sarah B

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