Throughout America's music history, the use and abuse of illegal drugs has been widespread, and some great musicians' lives have been utterly devistated and ruined by drugs. Often times it seems as though, in studying their histories, many musicians are falsely led to believe that if they use certain drugs, their playing will improve, or become more creative. Many great musician's lives have been tragicly cut short because of their drug use, and God only knows where some of them would be today had they not fallen into the trap of believing a chemical substance can improve their musicianship. The tragic thing is that by the time they realize that the drugs are only hurting their performance, the addiction has already taken control of their lives and their music.
The first real drug epidemic in the American music scene came when jazz was in its developmental stages in the first half and the middle of the 20th century. While there was a heroin epedimic across the nation at the time, not just with musicians, the latter half of the 20th century has suffered several musical casualties to the drug. As the great players, such as Charlie Parker, began using, the up and coming musicians who idolized him were well aware of his drug use. Upon seeing their idol shoot up, then go on stage and rip through bebop like it was nothing, these young players began to think, "If I tried it, I might be able to play like that." One of these young players, who would eventually be come one of the most historical figures in jazz, was Miles Davis.
Miles came from a well off middle class family. His dad was a successful dentist, so money was never an issue. Miles' father encouraged the arts, while his mother discouraged it because the chances of making a good living are slim to none. However, Miles ended up going to Juliard for trumpet and his career began when he started playing with other musicians in New York, rather than focusing on school. It was when Miles was playing in Billy...
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