Dennis Davis, Drummer With David Bowie, Dies
Dennis Davis, best known as David Bowie's drummer in the late '70s, has died. Long-time Bowie producer Tony Visconti confirmed Davis' passing via Facebook, though no cause of death was immediately revealed.
"He was one of the most creative drummers I have ever worked with," Visconti said. "He came into David Bowie's life when we recorded some extra tracks for Young Americans and stayed with us through Scary Monsters and beyond. He was a disciplined jazz drummer who tore into rock with a jazz sensibility."
Davis also appeared on Bowie friend Iggy Pop's 1977 album The Idiot, and on a quartet of albums by Stevie Wonder that included 1980's Hotter Than July. He can be heard on the Wonder hits "Master Blaster" and "Do I Do." Sessions with jazz musicians like Roy Ayers, George Benson and Ronnie Foster rounded out Davis' impressive resume.
He had previously referenced a series of lingering illnesses. "I've gone through some tough time in recent years with my health with cancer, stroke and some other stuff," Davis said in 2014. "I'm still fighting. I may be slightly disfigured and can not move my leg as I wish. But I am thankful that God left me just enough so that I can still play drums." By last November, Davis had apparently suffered a set back. He said he was "trying to get better so I can get out the hospital," also via Facebook.
Visconti specifically praised Davis' contributions during Bowie's celebrated Berlin Trilogy between 1977-79. "Listen to the drum breaks on 'Black Out' from the Heroes album," the producer said. "He had a conga drum as part of his set up, and he made it sound like two musicians were playing drums and congas. By Scary Monsters, he was playing parts that were unthinkable but they fit in so perfectly. His sense of humor was wonderful. ... There will never be another drummer, human being and friend like Dennis, a magical man."
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