It seems the spate of musicians leaving us this year is still going on. David Bowie’s long-time drummer Dennis Davis, who featured on tracks such as “Heroes” and “Ashes To Ashes”, has died from cancer three months after the singer.
The pair’s working relationship began when the musician played on the recording of Young Americans in 1975. Davis then went on to play on Bowie’s famous Berlin records; Low, Heroes and Lodger. He also played percussion for Bowie on his live tours in 1976 and 1978.
His death was confirmed in a statement on Facebook by Bowie producer Tony Visconti, who described him as:
“one of the most creative drummers I have ever worked with”.
“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.
“Listen to the drum breaks on Blackout from the Heroes album. 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. As an ex member of the US Air Force he told us stories of seeing a crashed UFO first hand by accidentally walking through an unauthorized hanger.
There will never be another drummer, human being and friend like Dennis, a magical man.”
Bowie passed away on 10 January after being diagnosed with cancer.
His son Duncan Jones paid tribute to Davis on Twitter:
“Very sad to hear about passing of Dennis Davis, dad’s drummer from old days. Always be grateful for his patience trying to teach me to drum.”
And guitarist Carlos Alomar, who also worked with Bowie for decades, wrote:
“#heartbroken#lifelong friend & Bowie’s D.A.M. Trio member-@DennisDavis has passed on. Condolences to his family, wife & children .., RIP.”
Davis also played with Stevie Wonder, on albums including Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants and Hotter Than July; with Iggy Pop on The Idiot; and on albums with George Benson, Jermaine Jackson and Roy Ayers.