“It’s long been a dream of David Bowie to make a jazz record with a big band. On Jan. 8, 2016, Bowie’s 69th birthday, we’ll hear his dream realized. The path to ★ (pronounced “blackstar”), Bowie’s 25th album, is filled with chance meetings with all the right people, but the two main characters are his long time friend and producer Tony Visconti and his new found friend/saxophonist and band leader Donny McCaslin.
I wanted to know how this dream into jazz came to be fulfilled, and as it turned out, Visconti and McCaslin had a good tale to tell about how the album came to be.
“It wasn’t actually spoken out loud, but we were going to make a David Bowie album with jazz musicians, but they weren’t necessarily going to play jazz,” Visconti told me. “If we used rock musicians trying to play jazz, it would have been a very different album.” The younger McCaslin grew up on many of the same musicians as Bowie and Visconti — Charlie Parker and Charlie Mingus, for example — but he also grew up on David Bowie, and that made him the perfect partner to explore this new territory.“