“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Alton in Madison County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Miles Davis

May 26, 1926 - September 28, 1991

— Alton, Illinois - Birthplace of the Cool —

Miles Davis Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 19, 2020
1. Miles Davis Marker
Inscription.  Miles Dewey Davis III is noted as one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century. The son of a successful dental surgeon and music teacher, he was born in Alton, Illinois prior to the family relocating to East St. Louis, Illinois in 1927.

When Davis' father gave him his first trumpet at the age of 13, he practiced for hours to master the golden horn. At 17 years old, he met and played with jazz icons Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker for the first time.

In 1944, he moved to New York City to study at Julliard School of Music. At night, he could be found playing in Harlem nightclubs with Charlie Parker's band as the first sounds of bebop emerged - a fast, improvisional style of instrumental jazz defining the modern jazz era. The 1949 studio recordings of his own nonet, steeped in bebop tradition, later became the album Birth of the Cool - transforming jazz into its next phase.

Evolution of Cool

What is cool? Cool is all about what's happening next. Miles Davis embodies all that was cool from his attitude and fashion to his style of music. He defined cool in his ability
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to evolve musically during the course of his 50 year career. He began playing in the 1940s and 1950s with the legends of the jazz world. In the late 1960s, he found himself drawn to the electric sounds of artists like Jimi Hendrix and James Brown, morphing his music into a jazz-rock fusion. After going underground in the late 1970s, he returned in full force through the 1980s and 1990s, bringing to life a new sound of modern jazz and even releasing his first Rap/R&B hit single, Doo Bop.

Miles Davis is considered to be one of the most successful jazz artists of his time, recording and releasing more than 100 albums and winning nine Grammy Awards.


About the Sculptor

Preston Jackson is a professor emeritus of sculpture at the Art Institute in Chicago, specializing in metal fabrication. Born and raised in Decatur, Illinois, his commissioned works of art can be found across the country from the streets of Downtown Chicago to sculpture gardens in Hartford, Connecticut.
Erected 2015 by Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Office of Tourism.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArts, Letters, Music
Miles Davis Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 19, 2020
2. Miles Davis Marker
Looking towards Miles Davis Memorial Plaza
Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Grammy Award Winners series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1927.
Location. 38° 53.465′ N, 90° 11.237′ W. Marker is in Alton, Illinois, in Madison County. Marker is on West 3rd Street just west of Piasa Street (U.S. 67), on the right when traveling east. Marker is located next to Miles Davis Memorial Plaza, where the Miles Davis Statue is located. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 117 West 3rd Street, Alton IL 62002, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Setting the Stage for the Great Debate (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Alton (about 600 feet away); Alton & Sangamon Railroad (about 600 feet away); Godfrey, Gilman & Co. Warehouse (about 600 feet away); After The War (about 600 feet away); Lincoln-Douglas Debates! (about 600 feet away); Ruins of First State Prison in Illinois (about 600 feet away); Discover History All Around Alton (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alton.
Regarding Miles Davis. The Miles Davis Statue was unveiled on September 12, 2015, with an estimated 350-400 in attendance.
Also see . . .
Miles Davis Statue image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 19, 2020
3. Miles Davis Statue

1. Why Alton is the Birthplace of Cool. Great Rivers and Routes entry (Submitted on January 20, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 

2. Miles Davis - The Doo-Bop Song on YouTube (audio). Mentioned on the marker, this track was released posthumously in 1992 from Davis' Doo-Bop album. Vocals are by Easy Mo Bee, Anthony (A.B. Money) Mosley and J.R.

(Submitted on January 20, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 20, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 20, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 15, 2024