Longtime David Bowie drummer Dennis Davis has passed away. Davis was behind the kit for such Bowie hits as “Fame,” “Golden Years” and “Heroes,” among others. The news of his death was confirmed by producer and fellow Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti.
In addition to his work with Bowie, the Manhattan native worked extensively with renowned vibraphonist Roy Ayers, alongside guitarist and future Bowie cohort Carlos Alomar. He was taught early on by legendary drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones and served in the Vietnam War.
Davis’ recording credits include albums by Stevie Wonder, George Benson and Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Called “one of the most creative drummers I have ever worked with” here’s Visconti’s full post regarding the late percussionist:
Dennis Davis has passed away. He was 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 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. 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.