Miles Davis, Forever A Knight of the Legion of Honor

It was on this day, July 16, in 1991, that the French government made Miles Davis a Knight of the Legion of Honor – officially known as the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur award.

To the left is a photo of Miles Davis with the medal after the ceremony in Paris on July 16, 1991.

Writing for the International Herald Tribune, here is a very good article from columnist/author Mike Zwerin about Miles Davis in the summer of 1991 as a 65 year-old jazz legend.

And the Prince of Silence is still being royally rewarded for doing it. His Highness’s treasury is overflowing. Money is every bit as important to him as creativity. Or rather, they are inseparable. Obliging record companies, promoters and broadcasters to pay top dollar also commits them to saturation promotion, which encourages business and maintains the price. Money is a symbol of reality, even – especially – money for nothing.

Miles said he could put together a better rock band than Jimi Hendrix. He advised young musicians to learn rock, rhythm and blues and funk tunes rather than jazz standards. “I have to change,” he said. “It’s like a curse.” Miles goes to the money, but it’s more complicated than that: The money comes to him.

He has been paid millions to expand frontiers, to reflect the best of our urban experience, to do exactly what he wanted to do and did better than anyone else – to “play what’s not there.” The artistry with which he relates to money is an art in itself, an integral part of what makes him – whether he likes it or not – a living legend. His multimillion-dollar mansion in Malibu is one of his greatest hits. Miles Davis plays money with as much conviction as he does the trumpet.

Click here to read the complete article.

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