One of David Bowie‘s last collaborators has dismissed the idea that ‘Blackstar’ was intended to be the singer’s farewell record.
Bowie’s final album was released only two days before he died from cancer in January 2016 – with many claiming that its lyrics can be interpreted as the singer tackling his own mortality.
However, Donny McCaslin – who leads the New York jazz ensemble featured on the album – instead claims that Bowie was planning on more work prior to his death.
“There is the narrative of ‘Blackstar’ being this farewell, which I totally get. But that coexists with the fact that he was just so creative. He was planning on doing more,” he told NME for a new oral history to mark five years of the record.
McCaslin went on to claim that Bowie was also planning intimate live shows shortly before his death.
“When I went to listen to the album at his apartment in November 2015, the idea came up of doing some small gigs. The Village Vanguard is like Mecca for jazz folks and I had my first run there happening in January,” he said.
“We talked about how to do a little rehearsal and soundcheck and, of course, it was going to depend on how he felt. We talked again in December around the time of the musical and he said he didn’t want to – he was working on new music and he wanted to record in January.”
But producer Robert Fox, a long-time friend of Bowie’s, instead claims that he was only too aware of his impending death.
“No, he knew. I think he knew. Certainly, around Lazarus, it was very clear that there wouldn’t be anything else, barring a miracle,” he said.
“The last time I saw him was when I went to his apartment two dates after the opening of the musical. It wasn’t an overdramatic farewell, although it was pretty clear that it probably would be.”
Their comments come ahead of the comes ahead of A Bowie Celebration: Just for One Day livestream tonight (January 8) – with Bowie’s longtime pianist Mike Garson organising an all-star bill of guests.
The celebration of Bowie’s birthday this year has also seen the release of two previously unheard covers from the later singer which see him tackling both Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
It was announced yesterday (January 7) that Bowie’s music is now available on TikTok, with fans able to access tracks including ‘Modern Love’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Starman’, ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘Under Pressure’.