If your 60s and 70s loom before you as a time of stagnation and depression, take inspiration from jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Even as his career waned and he grew older, he never stopped trying to do new things with his art.
Miles Davis started his career in the 50s, playing pretty traditional jazz. However, his tremendous sense of melody, intense technical skills, and a dedication to expanding the vocabulary of his art quickly made him on the of the most well-respected musicians in the world.
As his career progressed, he made several sharp changes that influenced the shape of jazz forever. First of all, he got into bop and then hard bop, inventing and perfecting a complex and hard-hitting jazz that still influences musicians like Chris Potter to this very day.
After that, he stripped his music to its basics and invented modal jazz, a form that picked a melody and a key and improvised within that framework. Album after album of great work followed, but boredom always set in on the restless Davis.
At the dawn of the 70s, he and artists like Herbie Hancock and John McLaughin fused rock and jazz into an all new wild and unpredictable whole. Later, Davis stepped into funk and even experimental musical textures to continually push jazz into new realms.
Many of these areas are still being explored to this day. By the way, did we mention that he did much of this while in his later 40s and early 50s There was just no way to stop him from innovating.
And in the 80's, when he was clearly pushing into his later years, he continued to innovate. He took up the musical genres of the time, such as pop and rap, and pulled them into the world of jazz. As a result, the elderly Davis was on stage with young and vital artists a quarter of his age.
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