It’s hard to believe that David Robert Jones, aka David Bowie’s surprising death is already 10 months ago.
Days before he passed he promoted a strange tangle of an album called Blackstar, complete with a new band, a new sound, and an ominous video about dying.
Then he died. I couldn’t listen to the album even though I was fascinated by it’s story.
Our hero knew he had a fatal illness but shared it with almost no one. He hunted the New York nights for inspiration, finding it in Donny McCaslin, the saxophonist that Bowie always wanted to be. McCaslin had a progressive jazz combo that Bowie caught one night and immediately set up a meeting.
Walking into this jazz band’s practice space, Bowie opened up his notebook and proceeded to free jam song ideas and melodies with this band of guys he had never played with, much less met before!
It was all recorded, and it was so magical that it was almost released as the album! Can you imagine, the ultimate improv?
But business and engineering interests prevailed so they set up recording sessions to properly render their ideas.
Like his previous album The Next Day, this was a secretive project. The result was completed and shipped as Blackstar just two days before he met his demise.
And it has sat on my Pono in hi-resolution for 10 months now.
Too painful to press play and accept that this was Bowie composing very concisely about his pending demise.
I say go for it. I did.
It was amazing. His whole career, his whole artistic essence, facing the end and needing to channel this into music. It’s utterly devastating.
He can do anything. Accepting his ultimate fear leaves him fearless.
This might be his best album ever. I shit you not. It has no hits or singles. Nothing fashionable. Nothing I can scream out to you in small pieces.
It only is the most perfectly sad moment of music I’ve heard in quite some time.