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Black Star

David Bowie's final recording, Black Star, is a work of complete genius. I'm proud that it is in the same vein as our own The Valence Project, incorporating jazz, electronica, and rock. Like TVP, it is a vision of what pop music could be, if one were fearless. Recorded live with the Danny McCaslin Quartet, and Ben Monder on guitar, the vocals were re-done, but have a very spontaneous feel. There is lots of room for McCaslin to blow, on sax and flute. The drums are often sampled and looped, but also have a live, spontaneous feel. Each tune is completely different, but of a whole. Every artist wants to smuggle the fire of youth into the wisdom of old age. But very few artists have attempted to keep on making art up to the moment of death (David actually thought he had a few more months, and was in the studio with new demos the week before he died.) In the '70s he threatened to commit suicide on stage (it sold tickets) but he has given us something much more. Fear of death is there, of course, but so is the ache for transcendence. We are stardust. On his last tour, in 2004 at the Berkeley Community Theater, cigarette dangling debonairly, he admonished the front row security guards, "Oh, do let the kids dance". Let's Dance, indeed. Keep flying through the stars, David.
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