Paying tribute to David Bowie in MOJO this month, Tony Visconti offers us new insight into the creation of the ★ album and considers his friend’s constant compulsion to challenge himself.
Reflecting on their creative partnership, the producer provides a unique assessment of Bowie’s impact and legacy in our latest issue (March ’16/ #268), on sale now.
That includes revisiting what was to prove their last collaboration together, which saw Bowie working with a band of cutting edge New York jazz musicians as he sought to push himself creatively.
“He was always challenging himself,” Visconti tells MOJO’s Danny Eccleston. “When we discussed using [saxophonist] Donny McCaslin’s band for ★ he said [to me], ‘Tony, you have to study them. They’re way above us!’ So we both had to educate ourselves to get up to the level of Donny.”
The collaboration meant that even on his 25th studio album Bowie was embracing new ways of working, and holding his own with the bright young things.
“Perhaps that’s why David sang every single take that the band did live,” suggests his producer. “Because he was learning it. Refining his vocal along with the music. David and Donny’s band were hand in glove. They were The Spiders From Jazz.”
Get MOJO now for the full interview with Tony Visconti, plus the rest of our 21-page tribute to the Starman.