David Bowie’s Drummer Dennis Davis Dies

By Robyn Collins

Less than three months after David Bowie died of cancer, his longtime drummer Dennis Davis has died after his own cancer battle, confirmed Bowie producer Tony Visconti in a Facebook post.

“He was one of the most creative drummers I have ever worked with,” Visconti wrote. “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.

Visconti added that Davis brought a welcome jazz vibe to Bowie’s music. “He was a disciplined jazz drummer who tore into rock with a jazz sensibility. Listen to the drum breaks on ‘Black Out’ 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.”

Related:David Bowie Producer Says Album is a Parting Gift

Davis, born and raised in Manhattan, learned his trade with jazz greats Max Roach and Elvin Jones before his first big break with the Clark Terry Big Band in 1967.

The drummer served in the US Air Force during the Vietnam war, where an injury landed him in the Air Force Drum and Bugle Corps. He went on to work with such artists as Stevie WonderGeorge BensonIggy PopRoy Ayers and Ronnie Foster.

And Davis’ appeal extended way beyond his playing. “There will never be another drummer, human being and friend like Dennis, a magical man,” Visconti wrote.


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