John Coltrane`s and Miles Davis` Influence On Jazz Number

JohnColtrane`s and Miles Davis’ Influence On Jazz


JohnColtrane`s and Miles Davis’ Influence On Jazz

Musichas become one of the most appreciated forms of entertainment withdifferent genres in existence. The online platform has equally laid aplatform for massive use and access of music globally. One of themany music genres that is prominent globally, is the Jazz music. Jazzmusic originated from the African American around 19thand 20thcenturies. Overtime, the genres has grown to the rest of the worldbecoming one of the most appreciate music genre. Moreover, differentartists have made their name through the making and singing of thejazz music. This paper will analyze the contribution and influence ofJohn Coltranes, and Davis Miles in the world of jazz music.

Inthe 1960s, numerous jazz musical performers, for example, Ornette,Sun, Mingus, and Dolphy, extended the limits of their music in termsof organization, rhythm, congruity, beat, and composition. Theyseparated customary, traditional methods and changed to newertechniques that were not heard of before. They also improved theintensity and brought more prominent freedoms concerning the lengthof time, substance, and structure of performances. The subsequentmusic was given numerous names: free jazz, the vanguard, the &quotnewthing.&quot Avant Garde jazz was one of the results of thisdiversification of jazz from the traditional forms with John Coltraneplaying a major role since its inception.

JohnColtrane was an incomparable jazz artist of the late 20thcentury whose move from dedicated traditionalist to the drasticcreator of new forms made him a prominent stylist in jazz (Deveaux &ampGiddins, n.d.). He was born in September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, NorthCarolina. He became a Jazz saxophonist, song writer and a bandleader. However, he was noticed in 1955 when he joined Miles Davis’squintet, but was fired after 2 years in 1957 because of hiscontroversial harmonic experimentation as well as his heroine andalcohol addiction problems. He also played with a speed which some ofthe jazz musicians considered chaotic while others termed his playingand phrasing as jagged hence unmusical (Griffin &amp Washington,2013).

Hecontinued with his experimentation intensifying his methods duringthe several months he spent with Thelonious. He rejoined Davis andtogether they experimented the “sheets of sound” approach thatwas so rapid and one of Coltrane’s approach. He left Davis andproduced “my favorite Things” in 1960 which was warmly receivedby jazz fans. In it, he rejuvenated the straight soprano. By sodoing, he led a generation of young musicians like Wayne Shorter toexplore the saxophone. This became his major work till he succumbedto liver cancer in 1967 (Griffin &amp Washington, 2013).

JohnColtrane changed the phase of jazz by experimenting new techniquesthat had not been experimented before. He also introduced new soundsfrom other cultures such as Africa. He was honored with variousawards such as the Grammy lifetime award in 1992, he sold over half amillion copies of his work in Japan alone and the Special PulitzerPrize in 2007 for his innovation, supreme musicianship in creatingthe history of jazz (Griffin &amp Washington, 2013).

Inthe 1960’s jazz was affected by the rock revolution leading to ahybrid between the two genres of music known as jazz, rock or jazzfusion (Griffin &amp Washington, 2013). Miles Davis had a lot ofinfluence on the jazz and rock fusion. Born in May 26, 1926, he had atalent for music and became a musician, song composer and abandleader. He became known in the music industry in 1944 when jazzwas undergoing various revolutions with many artists being againstthe restrictions that jazz imposed on them. He played the trumpet andworked together with iconic figures such as Thelonious Monk andCharlie Parker. All through his music career, Davis took anunconventional approach to melodic lines and rhythms. He slowed downthe melody of his songs and inculcating rhythm sections insteadtogether with other improvisions. He took a controversial side whenhe introduced electronics in the trumpet due to the significantinfluence of rock and roll at the time (Griffin &amp Washington,2013)

Theintroduction of the rock aspect into jazz captured the attention ofevery audience. As a result, the Davis impact on jazz fusion came tolight in the 1970’s through his double jazz album bitches brewwhich was released in April by Columbia records (Griffin &ampWashington, 2013). In the album, Davis experimented with electricmusical instruments such as the electric piano and guitar in additionto the saxophone and the trumpet. This was a result of his rejectionof the traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a rock combination of thejazz.

Thealbum became his first gold record, but ‘however’ receivedcriticism due to its combination of the two genres of music. It soldaround half a million copies and later became the progenitor of jazzrock music genre. The songs in the album were aggressive and fastplaying as opposed to the slow jazz. The rock aspect of the albumattracted funk rock fans who also ventured into the jazz rock musicgenre. This was an important step towards the inception of jazz rockwith other artists following suit to make it what it is today(Griffin &amp Washington, 2013). Many students of Davis among themHerbie Hancock, Keith Jarret continued with the combination betweenjazz and rock. Some started bands such as weather report, Return toForever, Lifetime and others which recorded various jazz and rockcombination songs.

Inconclusion, the innovativeness of John Coltrane and Miles Davis ledto a revolution in the music industry and more so on jazz. They brokethe restrictions that jazz placed on musicians to come up with newgenres of jazz music which was inclusive of all. This led to bettersales and recognition of both as music icons whose impact in thefield of jazz cannot be underrated by most of their resultant workbeing listened to up to date.


Deveaux,S., &amp Giddins, G. (n.d.). Jazz: W. W. Norton Study Space.Retrieved May 7, 2015, from

Griffin,F. &amp Washington, S. (2013). Clawingat the limits of cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and the greatestjazz collaboration ever.New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin`s Press.