Aram Avakian (1926–1987)
Reproduction print from 1955 original
Miles Davis, remains the embodiment of jazz cool, and he was one of the great artists of the twentieth century. Like Picasso, he had several artistic periods: his bebop apprenticeship with Charlie Parker, cool jazz (1940s), modal jazz (1950s), fusion (1960s), and then experiments with ambient music and electronica. In the 1950s Davis’s romantic muted trumpet solos floated coolly over his quintets and into the heart of orchestrations for Porgy and Bess or Sketches of Spain. After hearing Jimi Hendrix, he electrified his trumpet and surfed into chaotic soundscapes rife with dissonance and dense rhythms. Davis’s style added to his iconic power: he drove a red Ferrari, wore custom Italian suits, and spoke in a burnt whisper. A shy man who put on a mask of fierceness, he often withdrew into an insular private world where he struggled with substance abuse. He is one of the few jazz musicians in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.