Aug. 17, 1959

Credit: Wikipedia

Miles Davis, jazz’s innovative trumpeter, released his album, “Kind of Blue”, profoundly influencing jazz, rock and classical music. Many critics regard it as the most outstanding jazz album ever released, and Rolling Stone ranked the album as the 12th best album of all time. 

Davis was 9 when he received his first trumpet and became so talented that he played with the likes of jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker by the time he was 18. After moving to New York City, he became roommates with Parker. 

Davis became addicted to heroin and eventually kicked the habit. Two years after “Kind of Blue”, he pushed Columbia Records to include a picture of his then wife on an album cover. By his own admission, Davis was guilty of domestic violence and mistreatment of women — something he later expressed regret about. 

In 1972, he broke his ankles in a car crash and dove back into drugs, alternating between painkillers and cocaine. After this, he later wrote, “everything began to blur.” His habits began to affect his performances, and his health woes spiraled as well. 

In 1979, he married Cicely Tyson, who helped him overcome his drug addiction. That marriage ended like the others before it. A year before his death, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2006, he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

Don Cheadle portrayed the conflicted musical genius in the 2015 film, “Miles Ahead”, and filmmaker Stanley Nelson featured him in the 2019 documentary, “Miles Davis: Birth of Cool”.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.