David Bowie’s Drummer Dennis Davis Dies of Cancer
Davis was born in New York City and studied with jazz drummers Max Roach and Elvis Jones before performing in the late '60s with Clark Terry's Big Bad Band. He went on to work with Roy Ayers, George Benson, Ronnie Foster, Stevie Wonder and Jermaine Jackson. He began working with Bowie in 1974 and contributed to Young Americans, Station to Station, Low, Heroes and Lodger along with with Iggy Pop's solo debut, The Idiot.
Visconti called Davis "one of the most creative drummers" he's 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."
Davis toured with Bowie between 1976 and 1978 and returned to that position in the early ‘00s, performing with Bowie during his final tour in 2003. The death of Davis comes just three months after Bowie also died of cancer in January.