Alomar first played with Bowie on 'Young Americans'
Carlos Alomar, who regularly collaborated with David Bowie on music for three decades, has discussed the pair’s artistic relationship in an extract from a new book about Bowie’s musical companions.
The Puerto Rican-born musician first worked with the late artist on the latter’s 1975 album ‘Young Americans’, and would continue working with Bowie on 11 further albums between 1976-2003. Alomar was also a regular presence in Bowie’s live set-up between those years.
In an extract from A Portrait of Bowie: A Tribute to Bowie by his Artistic Collaborators & Contemporaries – published today on The Line of Best Fit – Alomar admits that he didn’t know who Bowie was when they first met in 1974.
“He had orange hair and he was white; I had an Afro and I was black,” Alomar writes. “The first thing I did was say, ‘Come over to my house, have some food and let’s just talk,’ because he was a curious guy, he was interesting, and he wasn’t the usual type of guy that I was used to working with. Next thing I knew he took me up on the invitation.
“We kind of bonded as musicians, just hanging out and having a good time. I wasn’t asking him for nothing; he wasn’t asking me for nothing. It was just cool like that.”
Alomar also recounted his final encounter with Bowie last year, before the musician died in January.
“I saw David at Tony Visconti’s birthday party last year, and he was very, very fragile. In hindsight, I can see what was happening… We talked about old times, and it was good to talk about things, heal old wounds, reminisce and just enjoy our time together. And now I know why we were together again. Now I understand it was that goodbye, you know?
“It was a moment just to celebrate and just be glad to be together. When things like that happen, you just take the moment as the moment is. But, in hindsight, when you look at the overall picture and you get the bird’s-eye view, you realise that it was a goodbye. It was that iconic moment when you’re able to see a friend and say goodbye but not in a mournful way. Just, I’ll talk to you later, and not have it be so damn morbid.”
Concluding, Alomar mused on how Bowie’s natural curiosity about life made him special.
“Part of what made David so special was that he was a listener and he was curious. All great science, all great scientists, all great people like that, I think that they never outgrow their childhood. A child is fearless in that he wants to know what’s around the corner, he wants to touch that hot stove, he wants to know why is that fire so bright? He knows he’s going to get burned but you can’t tell a kid not to turn that corner.”
A Portrait of Bowie: A Tribute to Bowie by his Artistic Collaborators & Contemporaries is out now.
Bowie’s final album, ‘Blackstar’, features on Rough Trade Records’ list of the top 100 albums of 2016 – check out the top 10 here.